Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Make Lilac Sugar with Sweet Treat™ Lilac

I am enamored of fragrance in the garden. Poetry is written and paintings are painted in celebration of the rose, the sweet violet, lavender, heliotrope, gardenia, jasmine, magnolia and especially the lilac. In addition to transforming my garden into a pleasure, one of my favorite uses for all this sweetness is flower-scented sugar made with lilac or lavender whole lowers, or with petals from violets or fragrant roses. Flower sugar is useful in teas, sugar cookies, pound and angel food cakes, coffee cake and blueberry muffins.

Though I am the strongest proponent of fragrance in the garden and always opt for fragrance over many other characteristics, until now I had been bereft of the perfume of lilacs. The common lilac just doesn’t thrive in my Zone 8A Atlanta garden. Until now! Enter Sweet Treat™ Lilac, an improved form of the well-known variety of Miss Kim Lilac, Syringa pubescens subsp. patula from Garden Debut®. It grows well in a wide range of soil conditions and is hardy in Zones 3-8, making it the most versatile lilac in the country.

Sweet Treat™ reliably displays clean foliage and vigor with no disease or die-back even during the hottest Atlanta summer temperatures that normally sound the death knell for the older varieties. The intoxicatingly sweet lilac fragrance so beloved of generations is combined with superior disease resistance performing flawlessly in the brutal heat and humidity (and often drought) of southern summers. Plus it’s burgundy fall color is an added bonus.  

Sweet Treat™ presents a profusion of fragrant blossoms each spring that are dark lavender in bud and fade to a soft lavender-ice blue when fully opened. They smell like warm sunlight and the breath of spring, seasoned with vanilla and sweet-smelling roses. The plant is particularly floriferous when planted in full sun, and its fragrant blossom trusses stand out beautifully against dark green, glossy leaves. To preserve this fleeting aroma I capture it in sugar; it’s very simple to make.

Super-Easy Lilac Sugar
I take about a cup of clean, dry flowers that have been grown organically and are entirely free of pesticides of any kind, 

and gently macerate or crush them with a wooden spoon to release the fragrance. 

Then I combine them with 2 C. granulated sugar and stir well to distribute the petals evenly. 

The flowers and sugar are poured into quart canning jars with screw-on lids  (in this case a decorative storage bottle with a fitted, ground glass lid).

It mellows our for a few weeks and when the sugar smells just like the flowers it is ready to use. 

Flower sugar may be substituted for plain sugar in any recipe, and you may leave the flowers in or sift them out as you choose. Sprinkle tea sandwiches with Lilac Sugar, or mince up some of the flowers and add to cream cheese for a yummy spread.

Have you planted versatile Sweet Treat™ Lilac in your garden? Mine is really new. 

No comments:

Post a Comment