The lilacs are in full bloom now, and I love how sweet they smell. Lilac blossoms are not only beautiful, but they are edible as well. They are full of aromatic flavor and are slightly astringent. Lilac blossoms contain carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two carotenoids found in the eyes and are beneficial to help prevent cataracts, and macular degeneration in the eyes. This gives lilac blossoms have a very specific health benefit for our eyes as they are high in those two carotenoids. To get more flowers on your lilac trees be sure to deadhead the old flowers.
As a beauty product, you can make a lilac tea by steeping the blossoms in hot water, strain the blossoms out, and refrigerate the resulting lilac water. You can then use it as a soothing toner for the face. You can also drink the lilac water.
Lilac blossoms can be used to make lilac wine and lilac ice cream. The blossoms can be added to cakes, cookies, squares, tea scones, pudding, and pancakes. You can even make a lilac syrup to put on pancakes and waffles. You can steep lilac blossoms in hot water for a flavorful cup of herbal tea, served hot or iced with a bit of your favorite sweetener. You can also use the blossoms to infuse flavor to create unique cocktails and mocktails. The blossoms can be coated on frothy egg white and then dipped in sugar and left to dry or crystalized blossoms to decorate cupcakes and cake. The blossoms can be used uncrystallized for pretty decorating of baked goods. Honey or sugar can be infused with the lilac scent and flavor simply by adding in the blossoms and allowing some time for the exchange to take place, six weeks for the honey and several hours for the sugar. Lilacs can be picked, washed, and stored for several weeks in the refrigerator. Lilac blossoms can be added to green salads or decorate cakes that are not only pretty to the eye but they also benefit eye health. Lilacs will brown in a few days, so be sure to add them on the icing just before serving, or store refrigerated.
Blueberry Butter Cake with Buttercream Icing and Lilac Blossoms
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar with the electric mixer. Mix the vanilla into the milk. Measure out 1 1/2 cups unsifted flour and then sift the flour with the baking powder and the salt. I sift it into my 9 x 9 ungreased pan. Alternately add the milk and flour mixture continuing to beat the mixture. Add the eggs and beat for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in the blueberries. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 9 baking pan and bake for 35 min at 350 degrees. You will get the best results from using cake and pastry flour. You can use all-purpose flour, and I have used unbleached flour for an old-fashioned taste. Ice with buttercream icing, and decorated with fresh lilac blossoms.