Of Food and Flowers

After writing my last post about the delicious scents of roses, I got a little hungry and started dreaming about all the things I could make with flowers!

And boy there’s a lot of ways to eat flowers.

While most edible flowers are simply added raw as edible decoration on dishes like salads, cakes, and cocktails, I was looking for recipes that really highlight the scents and flavors of flowers.

Apple Blossom Syrup

Last year, our “compost” apple tree went off the hook. It was filled with blossoms and later in the fall season, provided us with the most delicious apples on our homestead.

We credit its abundance to its proximity to the composting toilet! Yes, that’s right! The tastiest, best producing apple tree is the one by the toilet. And I think it’s a wonderful example of how we humans are a part of the ecosystem, not separate from it.

But I digress… let’s get back to the blossoms. I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled apple blossoms, but they remind me of sour apple taffy. I wanted to preserve that scent and was inspired by the OAEC’s recipe for rose syrup and decided to make apple blossom syrup.

It’s super easy to make and I used the syrup to sweeten my tea and replace maple syrup on my pancakes. The flavor is unique and delicious – mildly floral and fresh. However, that tart apple scent didn’t come through as much and I think overall, this recipe would work much better with a more fragrant flower like rose, lilac, or jasmine.

Recipe for Flower Syrup

Makes 1 quart

  • 2 1/4 cups flower buds and slightly open flowers (Cecile Brunner roses, lilacs, lavender, sweet pea, etc), tightly packed
  • 2 cups sugar or more to cover

Pack as many flowers as you can into a glass quart jar up to 2 3/4 cup line. Dump flowers into bowl and put aside. Cover bottom of jar with 1/4 cup sugar then put in an even layer of flowers, closely nestling them next to one another. Repeat the layers of sugar and flowers until jar is filled.

Lid the jar and store in refrigerator. The sugar will extract the flower perfume within 2 weeks and will continue to melt into a syrup. Strain preserved flowers with a small sieve before using. The syrup will keep for years!

*Recipe adapted from The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook.

Simple syrup is a really great way to capture and infuse food with the scents of flowers. And the uses of syrups are numerous because you can substitute any recipe that calls for sugar with infused syrups. For example, flavoring drinks (kombucha, lemonade, soda, etc.), making frosting & drizzles, and baking cookies & cakes.

There are tons of scented flowers to try. Violet syrup is especially fun because in addition to the flavor, you also get a natural purple food coloring!

Beyond syrups, here are some sweet and savory recipes around the web to wet your appetite for flowers:

Wild Elderflower Honey Lemon Drizzle Cake

Photo & recipe from Fare Isle

Acacia Flower Fritters

Photos & recipe from Manger

Candied Rose Petals

Photo & recipe from Mountain Feed

Chive Blossom Vinegar, Finishing Salt & Cultured Cashew Cheese

Photo & recipes from Fare Isle


  1. Oh Ann, to see such beauty through your eyes makes me so happy. I can’t wait to reunite and make wreaths with you. Big hug. Lena

  2. Gorgeous photos and recipes, Ann! And inspiring to boot! My latest flower favorites this spring and early summer are kombuchas with fresh wild rose petals or fresh or frozen lilac blooms. Delicious! Drop in a few huckleberries or blueberries (per quart) to add exquisite color to the lilac kombucha since the blooms don’t impart that much color. And then there’s lilac wine, more labor intensive but so worth it. Elixir of the gods – it’s truly amazing.
    And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention dandelions. Wine made from the blossoms is tasty but the time it takes to pick and clean all those blossoms. However this year (thank you Chelsea Green Publishers) I stumbled upon Dandelion Beer! You use the leaves and some roots along with lemongrass and ginger. Considerably easier than the flower picking and the taste is outrageous. I made a gallon just to check it out. It brews fast, lots of carbonation (yes, I exploded a bottle) and made to be drunk right away. Before the gallon was even gone, I had a five gallon batch underway. WooHoo!
    Love Idyllwild and the truly gifted and amazing family who created it!

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