Lilac Infused Sugar
Today was a fairly successful, beautiful day. We started out with a few cups of coffee sitting out on the front steps and then got started on completing the lower tier of the backyard. Once that tier was completed, we took the dogs for a run and then spent the afternoon lounging in the yard. We were about to head inside when Josh noticed a loud buzzing sound. He then found a GIANT Black Widow Spider in the midst of wrapping a GIANT bumble bee in her webbing. I'm not one to often interfere with Mother Nature, as I feel that she knows how to balance herself. But let's be honest here.....it's a Bumble Bee. I had to save him. So we got the spider away from the bee and verrrrryyy carefully began attempting to remove the webbing from the bee's body. I wish we had some pictures to share but we just didn't think of it at the time....over half of the bee had been wrapped in webbing! We first moved the webbing from the bee's back and freed the wings and then the back end. I then removed as much as I could from the bee's legs, without hurting it. You would not believe how sticky this stuff is. It is really quite amazing. I removed as much as possible and then left the bee in a safe protected place to hopefully remove the remainder by itself. He seemed quite exhausted after our 20 minute effort and I was quite worried the bee wouldn't survive. I went back a few hours later and at first my heart fell. The bee was laying motionless in its safe place but its legs seemed to be free of the webbing. I moved him around a bit in the glass that I had laid him in and he got up and started trying to fly. So I carefully removed him from the glass. The bee then spent a few seconds fluttering his wings and to my joy and amazement, then flew off over the fence. A small success in the fight to save the bees.
Now that I have my bee story out of the way (btw, if you can't tell, I am thrilled about the outcome!) let's continue to the recipe. It's not so much a recipe, as it is a prelude to a recipe. Today we are going to make Lilac Infused Sugar.
So here we go. The two things you need are..... Beautiful beautiful beautiful Lilac flowers, like the ones in this picture, I am lucky enough to have a yard full of 3 different lilac varieties. The ones in this picture are my favourite. If you don't have lilacs in your yard....the first thing you should do is plant some..... the second thing to do is walk around your neighbourhood. Lilacs are very popular and some of your neighbours likely have a few plants. You can either ask them permission to use a few bunches off their bush or you can be like me and if you don't know them, just take a bunch that hangs over onto the sidewalk. Sorry unknown neighbours!
Next step, once you have about 3 bunches,give them a shake to remove any unwanted bug friends. Now you can start removing the flowers from the bunches. It is necessary to remove all the greenery from the flowers, this includes the tiny little stem at the bottom of each one. You will then put the flowers into a strainer and gently rinse them. Allow to sit on a towel until dry. You should have about 1 cup of lilac flowers. You will also need 2 cups of sugar. You can use the sugar of your choice but I prefer to use a raw organic sugar if possible. You can then layer the sugar and flowers in a container. Start with the sugar and alternate with lilac flowers. After the container is almost full, put the lid on and give it a shake. Make sure that you give yourself at least two days before using this sugar in a recipe, like this one for my Orange Lilac Loaf Cake. Be sure to shake the container once per day until you use it.
Lilac sugar has a lovely floral scent and I really wish I could describe the taste to you....but I am really struggling to find the perfect descriptive words. Please just try out this sugar and see for yourself. For all the tea drinkers out there that aren't appalled at the idea of adding sugar to their drink, this little number really adds a subtle floral hint. Let me know if you try this sugar but if not.... you should still definitely try out this loaf cake recipe!