Are Lilac Flowers Edible

Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Are lilac flowers edible? If you’re enjoying the lovely lilac blossoms in your garden, you may be surprised to learn that they are edible.

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Are lilac flowers edible? If you're enjoying the lovely lilac blossoms in your garden, you may be surprised to learn that they are edible.

Are Lilac Flowers Edible

So, can you eat lilacs raw? Yes, you can as long as they are properly washed. Not only is lilac edible, it tastes quite good. 

Is French lilac edible? Lilac flowers are perfectly safe to eat, and there are many lilac recipes that you can try. We have lilacs in our garden for the intoxicating scent and the aesthetic properties.

But, you can eat lilacs from your lilac bush as well. Many people don’t know that the flowers are safe to eat. There are lots of ways you can enjoy lilacs in the spring.

So, if you don’t have a lilac bush at your home, I recommend you plant at least one! Then, get these flower scissors. They are the easiest ways to snip lilac bunches off your tree.

Unique health advantages

Lilacs have a range of health benefits that are often overlooked.

The antioxidants present in fresh lilacs may help to protect cells from damage.

Lilacs also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help treat conditions like arthritis.

These nutrients work together to support a healthy immune system and may help with improved eye health.

lilacs blooming over a white fence

When do lilacs bloom?

Lilacs are at their best in late spring. But, the timing of your lilac blooms depends on the type of lilac bush you have. Some varieties flower as early as April, while others don’t start blooming until June.

They are ready for my lilac recipes in Vermont toward the end of May. I can make my lilac lemonade for Mother’s Day if I am lucky.

When I want to find lilac flowers near me, I typically look around my neighborhood. The scent is very obvious in the spring.

I miss them once they are gone and look forward to the flower scent every year. They grow right outside my kitchen door.

What kind of lilac is edible?

Are lilacs edible?  Yes, all kinds, including the common lilac (syringa vulgaris), Persian lilac, and Japanese tree lilac are safe to eat.

The best time to pick the flowers is in the morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day sets in. This is when the flowers smell the most fragrant and sweet.

So, if  someone asks you if lilacs are toxic, you can tell them no.

Food grade lilac flowers

So, any lilacs you know grow in an area that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or exhaust fumes from cars are safe to eat. It’s best to get them from your own yard.

a basket of fresh picked lilacs

How to rinse off lilac flowers?

If you’re going to eat the lilac florets, it’s best to give them a good rinse. This will remove any dirt, pollen, or bugs on them.

You can either rinse them in a bowl of cool water or gently spray them with a hose. Let the flowers air dry on a clean towel before you use them.

Are lilac flowers edible? If you're enjoying the lovely lilac blossoms in your garden, you may be surprised to learn that they are edible.

How to pick lilac blossoms

Lilacs have a short blooming season. Typically, they bloom in early to mid-spring. When picking any flower for eating, make sure to pick them when they are in full bloom for the best flavor.

The easiest way to pick them is to cut the stem below the flower and then gently twist the flower off of the stem. No need to worry about the tiny green stems.

You can also pick lilacs by snipping off the top of the flower with scissors. This will leave a bit of stem attached, but it’s unnecessary to remove it. These flower scissors are a must.

Never pick all of the buds from your lilac bushes. Leave some for the birds and bees.

Are lilac flowers edible? If you're enjoying the lovely lilac blossoms in your garden, you may be surprised to learn that they are edible.


What do lilac flowers taste like?

So, what does lilac taste like? The lilacs have a delicate floral flavor with a hint of sweetness. They make a beautiful garnish for salads, desserts, or cocktails.

You can also use them to make lilac syrup, which is delicious on pancakes or waffles. The lilac flavor is delicious.

Lilac syrup would make a wonderful gift as well. Package it with a pretty purple ribbon.

Are you wondering about lilacs and landscaping? We have five or six lilac trees on our property. They've been here for years and I love the color and the scent

How to choose the best flowers

When choosing lilacs for eating, avoid any treated with pesticides. You’ll also want to avoid any lilacs that are wilted or turning brown.

Only choose bunches with the freshest and most vibrant purple buds for the best flavoring for your recipes. Inspect the tiny florets carefully for damage.

Why are my lilac flowers turning brown?

If your lilac flowers are turning brown, it may be the end of their life cycle. As the weather warms up, the blooms will turn brown and die.

If they have not yet bloomed and they are turning brown, it may be the result of a bacteria blight.

How to store lilac blossoms

Lilacs are best used the day they are picked. However, you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

Place them in a plastic bag or container and put them in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Make sure to remove any leaves or stems before storing them.

Freezing lilacs

You can also freeze lilacs to enjoy out of season. Freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and store them in a freezer bag.

Alternately, you can freeze them in ice cube trays if you only plan to use a few at a time. Just pick a small bunch.

Use frozen lilacs within six months for the best taste. The next time a friend asks is lilac edible, you can pull out some from the freezer and show them.

lilac blossoms near a cup of tea

Drying lilac blossoms

You can dry lilacs to use in potpourri or Lilac Tea. Hang them upside down in a dark, cool, and dry place.

You can also use a dehydrator set on the lowest setting to dry them. It will take several hours for them to completely dry.

Once they are dried, store the flowers in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Lilac sugar recipe

This is a lovely way to add a lilac flavor to baked goods or desserts. There are lots of lilac flower uses but this is one of my favorites.

Start by drying one cup of lilac florets. Once they are dried, grind them into a fine powder using a food processor or coffee grinder.

Add the Lilac powder to one cup of sugar to a large bowl and stir until combined.

Store the sugar in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. You can add a tiny bit of food coloring if you want to, but it is unnecessary.

lilacs floating in water with sliced lemons on a cutting board

How to make a lilac simple syrup

Lilac simple syrup is a great way to use up extra lilac blossoms. It’s perfect for adding to cocktails, lemonade, or iced tea.

Start by picking one cup of fresh lilacs. Rinse them off and let them air dry on a clean towel.

Next, add one cup of sugar and one cup of water to a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the flowers and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Once it’s cooled, strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve or fine mesh strainer into a clean jar.

Store the lilac syrup in the fridge for up to two weeks. You won’t believe how tasty this is.

Lilac infused honey recipe

This is a great way to use extra blossoms and make delicious, unique honey.

Start by adding one cup of flowers to a clean jar. Pour in one cup of honey and stir until combined.

Let the mixture sit for at least two weeks so the flavors can meld together.

After two weeks, strain the honey through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean jar or bottle.

Store the honey in the fridge for up to two months.

edible flowers in a metal strainer

More edible flowers

In addition to lilacs, there are many other edible flowers that you can enjoy. Try adding nasturtiums, pansies, roses, or violets to your next salad or dessert.

Spring lilacs also make a wonderful decoration to top your favorite cake or baked goods. Combine a fresh rose with blueberries, blackberries, and lilac blooms for a cake topper.

So, can you eat lilacs now? Ours are almost ready!

Protecting lilacs from a freeze

If you have a late freeze and are concerned about your buds, you can protect your lilacs from a freeze by covering them with a blanket or sheet. 

Lilac Recipes

So, are lilac flowers edible? Yes! Here are some recipes to help you enjoy your edible lilac florets:

  • Infused Syrup (above)
  • Lilac sugar (above)
  • Candied Lilacs
  • Jelly Recipe
  • Sorbet Recipe
  • Lilac lemonade with sugar (one of my favorite drinks)
  • Breakfast muffins
  • Lilac ice cream (topped with my homemade whipped cream)

Don’t forget to save a few fresh flowers to display in a vase. They are just gorgeous, and the smell is wonderful!

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