Since the elderflowers are still not out this year (what's in bloom right now and _looks_ like elderflowers is in fact the related snowball, which is slightly poisonous) and pink syrup is a fancy contrast, I decided to make lilac syrup. It can be enjoyed just like elderflower syrup in sparkling wine or presecco, with sparkling water or on ice cream, and it really tastes like the lilac flowers smell!
empty, clean bottles
Energy: 200 kcal per 100 ml
Remove the lilac flowers from the umbels, as the stems produce a bitter taste. Also remove any insects during that process. If possible, do not wash the lilac, since a lot of flavor gets lost that way. Cut the lemon to thin slices.
Cook water and sugar in a big pot and let cool for a bit. Add the lilac flowers and the lemon slices.
Keep the mixture like that for about 2 days, check every once in a while that all the flowers are covered with syrup. You can use a plastic lid that's smaller than the pot to weigh the flowers down. The syrup absorbs the color of the lilac blooms as well as the flavor, that's why I prefer the lilac-colored lilac, but it would also work with white-colored lilac!
The time that a syrup can be kept generally depends on the sugar content, the citric acid content and on the type of preparation (cold or cooked). That's why I heated the syrup after sieving out the blooms, to about 80°C, that is, well before boiling temperature, and added the citric acid to taste. Without the citric acid, the syrup tastes way too sweet!
The clean, dry bottles can be sterilized in the oven at 140°C for about 15 minutes. Use a funnel to pour in the hot syrup and close with lids sterilized in hot water, that should add to the time that the syrup keeps!
If you keep an opened bottle in the fridge, the elderflower syrup lasts for more than a year (I still have a rest that has to last until the elderflower bloom this year). I think that the lilac syrup will also keep for a year, but the flavor could also disappear sooner. We shall see!
The lilac syrup is great with prosecco, sparkling water or as sauce over ice cream etc. It really tastes just like the lilac smells!
The elderflowers, which I'm keeping an eye on for this year's elderflower syrup, are still green. And our neighbour has lilac in his garden - Cheers to the next round! ;-)