Fun with Lilacs

by Michelle on May 22, 2008

Last week I was driving down our driveway and all of a sudden I was over-whelmed with the perfume of Lilacs. I love Lilacs and as soon as I smelled the fabulous blossoms I knew I had to make something incorporating this delicate, beautiful flower.

Lilacs, as most spring blooms do not last long, in one way or another Mother Nature is not very kind to our early blooms. So this post is a bit premature, as the fermenting process is not quite finished, but I wanted to publish before all the blooms disappear. There’s nothing more disappointing then to have to wait an entire year to make something not only adventurist but delicious!

It is surprising how the blossom vinegars mellow with each day. Day 1 the Lilas vinegar was still very tart but on day 2, it has changed to a tangy/sweet taste that is just wonderful and this morning the Lilac Vinegar is so delicious, still tangy but much sweeter. As with my Tulip Vinegar that I made last week, I will use it in as a flavoring in baking and cooking. Home flavored vinegars are not safe after about 3 months and must be kept refrigerated, so I’m going to try freezing my vinegars to preserve them for use year round. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to use a tsp of Lilac Vinegar in Sauteed Chicken when the temperature is -15 and the snow drifts are 2′ deep!

I made my Lilac Vinegar very similar to my Tulip Vinegar. But since the Lilac bloom is much smaller then a Tulip blossom I just used my kitchen shears and cut off the tiny blossoms careful to avoid any green stem. The green stem will color your vinegar and combined with the purple flower you will get a yucky gray color which is not appealing at all.

To bump up the color and flavor, on day 3 I strained the vinegar through a fine mesh, discarded the blossoms and then added fresh blossoms. Since my Lilacs are still in gorgeous bloom today, day 4 of the fermentation process, I am going to strain and add new blossoms again. I should get a more intense color and more of the wonderful sweet Lilac nectar!!

Here’s the bounty of Lilacs I used for my initial ferment. It is 4 large bunches of Lilacs, probably close to 4 c. of tiny blossoms tightly packed and remember no green stems!

Here is a picture taken just a few hours into the 1st ferment. You can still see the purple Lilacs, the gorgeous soft red of the vinegar but the vinegar is somewhat cloudy.

After 2 days, I strained the vinegar and added new Lilac Blossoms. Here is a picture I took this morning and you can see a more intense color to the vinegar and the purple Lilac blossoms have been totally stripped of any color and the vinegar has clarified wonderfully!

The color of the vinegar is true as I did not add any food coloring at all. But different varieties of Lilac should produce a slightly different color. If you do want a purple vinegar I would suggest adding a bit of blue food coloring, but test it first with a small amount of your vinegar. Since you will be working with the natural dye of the Lilac and an artificial dye of the food coloring the results might not turn out visually appealing, especially with purple being one of the more difficult colors to mix.

All Rights Reserved 2008 © Big Black Dog

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Comments

  • Lucy..♥ May 22, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Does that look awesome or what!! Just a few weeks ago from my kitchen window the scent of lilacs perfumed my kitchen… Just heavenly! Of course, I don’t have any to try this now :-( Sure wish they lasted a bit longer than the do! Hasn’t helped much w/all the rains we been having either…

  • OhioMom May 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    When DH and I take our morning walks the scent of lilacs is everywhere, I absolutely love them.This does look awesome!

  • Maryanne May 25, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Lilacs, one of my favorites. We always used them for those special baths, but what a great idea for vinegar.

  • Maggie May 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    What a great idea! I love the scent of lilac. Now I just have to wait another week for mine to open up.

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