Along the Grapevine

Honeysuckle Syrup

31 Comments

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I am still learning my way around our property. Last year I discovered for the first time a huge honeysuckle bush, and as I went to visit it recently I discovered four more. I took this as a sign that I should continue to experiment with floral recipes.

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I wasn’t very optimistic, as sweet smelling flowers often have a bitter taste with little of the sweetness associated with the scent. However, I was encouraged by as post by the Green Lizard on making lilac jelly and decided to harvest some of the honeysuckle blossoms. My experiment was not a total success, but I believe I know where I made the mistake. Nonetheless the thin jelly got renamed a syrup, and it is every bit as useful and delicious as a jelly. Sometimes I love my mistakes.

Here’s where I went wrong. I decided to make my own pectin from some dried crabapples. Crabapples are full of pectin and by simply boiling them in water and straining the liquid which can be canned the same as any preserve, you have a perfect ingredient for making jams and jellies all season long. I figured dried crabapples would work just as well. My mistake I believe was not to boil them long enough. When I tested for the pectin content after only a few minutes, I noticed it was a bit weak, but thought it would do. Not quite.

To test if your pectin mixture is ready, just add a spoonful of the liquid into a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Then wait a minute or two, and if you can scoop some of the juice onto a fork and not have it all run off, then it is ready.  I did detect a gelled effect, but only slightly, so there was my mistake.

To make the jelly (or in this case syrup) you will need a lot of petals – not necessarily honeysuckle but any edible flower you want to use – at least two quarts. Pick flowers which are opened but fresh looking, and remove the calyx.

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Cover the petals with water and simmer for about 10 minutes, then cool and refrigerate a few hours or preferably overnight to extract as much of the flavour as possible. Strain and mix 4 parts liquid with five parts sugar, the juice of half a lemon and 1 cup crabapple pectin. Bring it all to a boil and simmer for about five minutes. A small amount of the jelly should set when poured onto a chilled saucer. Skim any foam off and pour into sterilized mason jars. I found the heat of the syrup poured into freshly sterilized jars (by setting them in boiled water for 10 minutes) was sufficient to seal them. I tightened the lids and set them upside down until cool.

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Two things I discovered: the unappealing colour of the cooked blossoms transformed as soon as I added the pectin mixture, and even more so after the addition of sugar;  the flavour was very honey-like, and there was no trace of the bitterness found in the fresh flower. Although it was not as thick as a jelly should be, it was like a good quality liquid honey and can be used in similar ways.

I have already found several uses for this tasty syrup:

Add a spoonful to a cup of your favourite tea. I never take sugar in my tea, but this gives a wonderful floral bouquet without too much sweetness;

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Pour some over a milk dessert, such as rice pudding;

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Serve with waffles or pancakes;

Mix with soda water for a cool drink with ice cubes.

Here’s hoping we have a good crabapple season this year, and that last week’s frost hasn’t nipped them in the bud!

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

31 thoughts on “Honeysuckle Syrup

  1. Reblogged this on Green Lizard's Blog and commented:
    How’s this for a useful story. I’ve been looking for a use for our honeysuckle for ages but is focussed on the berries, which are generally poisonous. So if the flowed are good that’s great news!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did it! Beautiful pics and great ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How I loved this post Hilda. Every post educates me. We used to eat couple of flowers as well as kids like marigold centers, rose petals, etc. Making jelly or syrup is totally exciting.

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  4. As a child, I used to pick the flowers and suck the nectar from honeysuckle, but never ate the flowers. I recall it being sublimely sweet and slightly floral. Lovely post. It brought back memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely post! And I do agree about “loving your mistakes” – some of my mistakes have become my best inventions🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks amazing! I admire your determination, Hilda!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely ideas at the end for the use of the syrup, I especially like adding to tea because I also do not like adding straight up sugar. I learned from a cookbook I was going through that homemade flavored syrups are the key to some of the most tastiest cakes and drinks I’ve ever had. I could never figure out why her cakes were so moist and it’s the syrup! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recipe using honeysuckle and reading through and seeing the photos brought me back to my childhood . . . we had a giant honeysuckle bush leading out to our back alley and I always remember during summer months that beautiful fragrance . . . Also appreciate the information on homemade pectin as I’ve never tried to make it.

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  8. Thanks for the idea of adding syrup to cakes – I will have to try that. I learned to put jam in my tea in Russia, and I can’t understand why it is not a universal practice. It also helps me use up jams as I am not a toast and jam sort of person. As for the pectin, it is really worth a try. I will try and post the perfect recipe for it one day.

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  9. Oh wow this is amazing Hilda and you are Each post is so informative, just love it….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brilliant idea Hilda! Looks delicious! I always learn something new from your posts. We enjoy the scent of honeysuckle around here but I never knew you could make something of the flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I didnt know you could use honeysuckle as an edible, this is great to read !

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reading the title I went: “Huh?” Reading the recipe I went: “Yum!” This looks like such a powerful dish – love it

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  13. You can delete this comment (as well as the one before), just wanted to let you know that something went wrong as I intended the comment to be about the most recent post….. I will now leave the comment I intended for this post.
    Sorry for the trouble.

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  14. I had no idea you could cook with honeysuckle! I wonder what other mindboggling discoveries I have missed in the last blog-less weeks?

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  15. OMG!!, Hilda!!! I can’t imagine how fragrant this honeysuckle syrup must be!!! If I could find the organic Honeysuckle, I would make it in a heart beat.

    Love Love Love🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Pang. If you find aromatic and edible flowers where you are, I would be interested in hearing about that. So many great uses for a floral syrup.

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