June 15, 2016

Honeysuckle Syrup + Lemonade


Honeysuckle infused those summer nights
Painfully sweet perfume that dulled thoughts
Like narcotic-fueled fantasies
Replacing will with complaisance
While children plucked the soft posies
Eagerly sucking their sweetness like free candies
 - Robert Zanfad 

We sat on the front porch, the three of us, enjoying a warm afternoon of foraging through our honeysuckle bounty I had foraged from the side of the road down from our house. There is something so primitive and natural about exploring wild grown bushes and shrubs in uncharted territory. I've recently just spotted a whole wall of honeysuckle bushes just off another side of wild road and dream about foraging it one day very soon so I can try this recipe for honeysuckle pound cake.

Honeysuckle, above many flowers and blossoms, holds a particularly special place in my heart. Strong memories of picking the yellow flowers and sucking the sweet nectar from the blossom when I was a child are strongly embedded in my mind. They say that smells trigger strong memories because the area in your brain that analyzes the smell is closely connected to the two regions in your brain that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory. Which explains why you feel so nostalgic and like you've been transported back in time or are having a very clear deja vu. It also marks a change of season, that spring has officially arrived, and to slow down and appreciate these little mementos that only last for a moment. It was made even more special to share this moment with my girls and to create new memories with them that I hope will last in their mind for years to come.  

When I came upon the realization that you could take honeysuckle flowers and turn them into more than a single drop of sweet nectar, I couldn't wait to find some and transform it into syrup. If it smells like heaven, imagine what it would taste like!


  
The recipe that got me hooked on all things honeysuckle, was Beth Kirby's from her beautiful Local Milk Blog. Her imaginative and always inspiring recipes paired alongside her stunning photography work inspire all my senses. Her recipe for honeysuckle cordial or syrup turns out perfect every time (even with substituting the citric acid for the whole lemon) and she also has a whole list of things you can make along with more recipes like, are you ready for this, Honeysuckle Scones aka Honeysuckle biscuits. 


Without further ado here is the recipe for the syrup as well as our version of honeysuckle lemonade. Please tell me if you make it and what you use it in. I'm always wanting to hear of new ways to incorporate it into food or drink. A friend of mine just used it in icing for cookies! 


HONEYSUCKLE CORDIAL

yields 3 cups
Here's the basic building block recipe, it’s basically a honeysuckle simple syrup with the addition of citric acid + lemon. The citric acid acts as a preservative and also cuts the sweetness of the blossom with a pleasant tart taste. 

INGREDIENTS

4 cups honeysuckle blossoms, picked over + rinsed
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tsp citric acid (if you can't find this, use the WHOLE lemon)
1/2 a lemon, zested + sliced thin

COOKING DIRECTIONS

Bring water + sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar. Pour hot syrup over the flowers in a heatproof container. Stir in the citric acid, lemon zest, and the thin slices of lemon. (If you don't find citric acid, zest and slice the whole lemon and add to the honeysuckle water mixture). Let steep, covered, on the counter until it reaches room temperature then place it in the fridge and let it steep over night, totaling 24 hours. Strain through cheese cloth or a very fine mesh sieve. Store in the fridge.

HONEYSUCKLE LEMONADE

INGREDIENTS

1 to 2 oz of honeysuckle cordial (depending on your taste preference)
Lemonade (We like this one!)
Ice 

DIRECTIONS


Select glass of choice + fill with ice. Pour desired amount of honeysuckle syrup/cordial over the ice. Then top with lemonade. Stir, drink + enjoy! 


You could also use sparkling water, tonic water or even champagne if you're feeling fancy. I also HIGHLY recommend blending it with a hot or iced cup of Jasmine tea. My favorite Jasmine tea is this one, naturally! 

Cheers!

© imagine.create.playMaira Gall