Here’s one way to flavour things locally—using flowers from your own backyard or garden.
This arrives recipe from Naramata Inn in the Okanagan, where chef Ned Bell and his culinary team draw inspiration from local ingredients.
This recipe will teach you how to transform blossoms into a syrup that you can use to flavour drinks, desserts, or dishes, and can be made with edible species like chamomile, elderflower, hibiscus, lavender, or roses.
Yield: 1 1/3 cups of syrup
1 cup of elderflower blossoms (or your choice of edible flowers)
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Snip blossoms loose from the stem, and discard the rest. (If you’re using a larger flower, just use the petals.) Gently wash under cool water and set aside.
Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue stirring over heat until the liquid is thick, lightly-coloured and bubbling around the edges.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle flowers directly into the simple syrup, and leave to steep for a minimum of 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours).
This is an ideal time to add other ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, rosemary, cardamom, or citrus zest.
Lemon is traditionally used with elderflowers.
Remove from heat, strain and allow mixture to cool. Syrup can be stored in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Add to lemonade, iced tea, sparkling water or sparkling wine.
Create a signature cocktail, such as an Elderflower Blossom Gin Fizz.
Flavour whipped cream, ice cream, or drizzle over a syrup cake.
Blossom safety tips
Make sure the flower you’re using is edible for humans, and that no pesticides have been used on them.
Use only fresh flowers in good condition, with no signs of wilting, browning or disease.