Eating Seasonally: Lilac jam

Lilac is one of the smells that takes me back to the Warsaw of my childhood and my Babcia Halinka’s apartment on a hill overlooking the Vistula River. There was a Lilac bush right outside that apartment and we would stop and smell it’s flowers every time it was in blossom. The jam doesn’t taste like the flowers, yet it has a distinct and interesting taste, that works perfectly in the rogaliki (pastries) from Polska cookbook. I’m sure you can find many more ideal uses for it if you undertake to make it. And an undertaking it is, because the Lilac has tiny flowers, from which you must separate the petals and the little tubular base (I had to look up what that bit was called). The tubular base is bitter! However, don’t let this put you off, it’s such a pleasure – there is something purely magical about making jam from flower petals, and the Lilac jam you can only make this time of the year, so get out there and find yourself a Lilac bush (mind, that in Australia something that is called Lilac is not edible, I am talking about the common European Lilac here).


About 6 Lilac flower heads
1 heaped spoon of caster sugar per flower head and 2 for the jar (so 8 in this case)


Pestle and mortar


Simply place the petals with the sugar in your pestle mortar and grind until the petals disintegrate. You can also use a high-power blender for this.

Place this into a sterilised jar and cook the entire (closed) jar in a pan of water. Gently – minimum heat – for about 2hrs, topping up the water if needed.

Place the jar upside down as it cools, to seal. It can stay in this sealed jar for a few months.

Once you open the jar, eat within a couple of weeks.