Spring means different things to different people. For us, it's turkey season, crappie catching, mushroom picking and redbud blossoms (Cercis canadensis). We’ve made jelly here at Timber2Table from the blossoms, and you can use them to decorate a salad or dessert, but one of our favorite recipes is Redbud Blossom Syrup. We eat it on pancakes and waffles, add it to mixed drinks, and use it to flavor our springtime lemonade.
Pick the flowers when they are at their fullest, before the leaves come out, for easiest collection. Once you get the blossoms home, pick through them and remove as many stems and leaves as possible. For this recipe, you will need roughly 8 cups of blossoms, about a 1-gallon zip-style bag full.
And yes, there is a lot of sugar in the recipe. It’s basically a simple syrup flavored with flower blossoms, and, like most simple syrups, it needs roughly a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water. Use it as a sweetener in your mixed-drink recipes.
8 cups redbud blossoms
8 cups water
7 cups of sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Start by cleaning the blossoms of as many sticks and leaves as possible. They leave a bitter flavor in your syrup. In a large bowl, cover the blooms with cold water to float any remaining sticks or insects. Drain the cleaned blossoms and transfer to a large stock pot. Add 8 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or up to overnight.
Drain the water through a fine mesh screen or cheesecloth to remove the blossoms. Press the blossoms with the back of a wooden spoon to press any remaining water out. You have now made redbud tea.
Add the resulting redbud tea back to a stockpot. Add the remaining 6 cups of sugar and bring to a light boil. Add the lemon juice.
Boil the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or you will be left with rock candy, good, but not what we are going for here. Remove from heat as soon as the syrup is thick enough. Let they syrup cool and transfer to lidded jars for storage. Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.
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