This is a guest post from a veteran forager and apprentice herbalist I’ve long admired, Michelle Van Doren of Seeking Joyful Simplicity. She has a fabulous honeysuckle recipe for you to add to your stock of foraged treats and homemade medicines. Be sure to check out her site for more great ideas for homemade, homegrown foods and herbal remedies!
The Humble Honeysuckle
The sweet aroma of honeysuckle marks the start of summer better than any date on a calendar. The tantalizing scent brings a flood of memories of childhood summers, freedom from school, and endless days filled with swimming, biking, and reading. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could bottle the aroma and flavor of honeysuckle? We can! This simple honeysuckle syrup recipe is a delightful treat.
The scientific name for honeysuckle is Lonicera, and there are over 100 different species. Known as an invasive, the most common varieties in northern America are the Japanese honeysuckle and the trumpet honeysuckle. Both are edible, though it is the Japanese variety that is usually used medicinally.
As with any foraged food, it’s important to correctly identify the plant before consuming. Use a good guide and be sure what you’re harvesting is safe to eat. Foraging expert Green Deane warns that some varieties of honeysuckle are toxic. Read more here.
Honeysuckle flowers and berries have traditional uses as remedies for bacterial and viral infections, and there are a number of studies looking at the effectiveness of honeysuckle in treating respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and influenza. And did you know honeysuckle berries and flowers are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components?
(More on medicinal uses for honeysuckle here. Please note that one use in Chinese medicine is as a contraceptive, so best to avoid this if you’re trying to conceive. It may also be an anticoagulant and should be avoided before surgery.)
Not only does honeysuckle have some terrific health benefits – honeysuckle syrup is fun and delightful!
Honeysuckle Blossom Syrup
Part of the fun of making honeysuckle recipes is harvesting honeysuckle. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of foraging wild flowers. Use caution when collecting wild plants and only collect from areas that aren’t treated with chemicals. This recipe calls for honeysuckle blossoms only.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- About 50 honeysuckle blossoms
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and the honeysuckle blossoms.
- Using medium to high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Strain into a jar — stores up to a month in the refrigerator.
How to Use Honeysuckle Syrup
My goodness, honeysuckle syrup makes desserts and drinks special! Here are some ideas for enjoying your honeysuckle syrup:
- Use your honeysuckle blossom syrup to sweeten summer iced tea
- Make homemade lemonade sweetened with honeysuckle syrup
- Add a few drops to sparkling water
- As a sweetener for your favorite cake and muffin recipes
- Enjoy as a topping for ice-cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet
- Pour a spoonful over a bowl of fresh fruit
- Add to unsweetened yogurt
- Freeze some of your syrup in ice cube trays, remove, and store in freezer bags. A great way to preserve your blossom syrup for the winter months – then add to your favorite hot beverage in the winter.
Other Honeysuckle Recipes
♦ You can make a naturally sweet honeysuckle tea by pouring boiling water over blossoms. 1/4 -1 cup blossoms covered with 1 cup water. Steep for several hours or overnight. Refrigerate for a refreshing ice tea.
♦ You can also make a glycerite for sore throats and colds. Learn how to make a honeysuckle glycerite from Homespun Seasonal Living.
♦ You can also use your syrup to make honeysuckle sorbet.
♦ One clever cook has even created a honeysuckle ice cream recipe.
Other honeysuckle recipes include jelly, cordials, wine, and cakes. Pinterest has some interesting honeysuckle recipes worth exploring if you find yourself with extra blossoms.
–> If you have a surplus of flowers, dehydrate some to enjoy when the honeysuckle season is over!
You can also buy dried honeysuckle here.
If you enjoy bringing flowers into your kitchen as food and medicine, you might also enjoy these ideas:
About the author: Michelle Van Doren is passionate about food, herbal remedies, and helping others live their best life. She is a contributing writer for the Herbal Academy, a Registered Dietitian, and a lifelong student of herbal medicine. She believes with the right combination of simple foods, herbs, and living with intention, you can live a more joyful and satisfying life. Visit her at Seeking Joyful Simplicity.
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Disclaimer: Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. Please consult a licensed professional for personalized recommendations.
Photo credits: DagnyWalter, byrev