it will make you sing, too. next year it will, unless you're very lucky. lilac season is over and i feel criminally neglijent posting this now, but i discovered this little miracle very late myself. a facebook friend pointed me to makka's kitchen, and as soon as i read it, i marched in the back yard, just in time to pick the last viable flowers. they were right at the top, and i had to pull at the branches like a savage, much to my daughter's delight. the bush was wet after the rain, but it was all worth it. the never ending plucking of tiny stems. worth it. next year said daughter will be doing the grunt work, nothing like little fingers for this job, if you ask me.
4 cups lilac flowers
3 cups water, boiling
1/2 ts vanilla extract
1 scant tb or 12,5 gr pectin
4 tb lemon juice
1 cup sugar
first take a deep breath and pluck all flowers clean off the stem. they come off easily, but you must be patient because there are so many. absolutely no green parts. reject any blemished or discolored flowers. then put them in a big jar and pour the hot water over them. cover and let it infuse 6 hours.
strain the infusion. press the flowers to be sure you get every drop. discard the flowers. put the infusion in a stainless pot, and add the lemon juice and vanilla. mix the pectin in the sugar and then add this mixture to the infusion, mixing constantly. bring to a rolling boil and cook 2 minutes. turn off the heat. lilac can turn bitter very easily, do not overcook. skim the surface and pour into little jars.
beside those two 8 oz jars i got a bit over 1/3 cup which dissapeared immediately.
this recipe is shown as featured on makka's blog. i had a bit of a problem: the jelly did not jell properly. some take longer than others, so i patiently waited a few days, but there was no improvement. the way to fix a stubborn jelly is this: pour it back in the pan and add 1 1/2 tb sugar per cup of jelly. heat it up. in a small pan mix 1 tb water/cup with 1 ts lemon juice/cup with 1 1/2 ts pectin/cup and bring to boil. pour this mixture in the hot jelly and bring to a rolling boil. cook 30 seconds. remove from heat and pour in clean jars.
even though it's not a big deal to fix, i don't really know why it refused to jell, and i think next year i'll just use the entire packet of pectin to avoid this situation.
as for the taste: if you ever had rose jam, or any flower jam, you know that delicious, incredible perfume they carry. it really does taste as i imagined a thousand times while smelling the flowers. i always thought, oh, if only i could eat them! it's floral, and sweet, with a lemon note at the end. absolutely delectable!
stay tuned for its first application. well, the second, if you count all the buttered lilac toast we've eaten.