This is probably one of the neatest things I have made in a while.
Once the weather warms up, The Husband and I spend a lot of evenings sitting on our back porch. Our house backs up to woods and the view from the back porch is one of reasons we decided to buy the house. It is so relaxing to kick back in a deck chair with a cold beer while listening to music and watching the trees sway in the breeze.
Last week, as I let my eyes lazily trail along the edge of our back fence, I caught sight of something yellow and white in the shadows. After a few seconds, I realized it was a honeysuckle vine growing right behind our fence. I pointed it out to The Husband and instantly we were on our feet and venturing back behind our fence to check it out.
For a few wonderful minutes we were like a couple of kids reliving a fond childhood memory, carefully plucking the blossoms from the bush, pulling the end off the flower, and gently pulling the “string” until a single drop of nectar appeared.
While we were standing there sucking nectar from the blooms, I was reminded of a conversation I had a week or so earlier with a friend from church. She asked if I had ever cooked with honeysuckle. I had not, but as I stood there surveying the extent of the vine and thought, “I need to do something with this.”
After a quick Google search for “honeysuckle recipes,” I found this recipe for honeysuckle sorbet. The next night after work, The Husband and I went out back and gathered as many honeysuckle vines as we could carry, brought them back to our picnic table, and began plucking off the blooms. We ended up with roughly two cups of flowers, which I placed in a glass bowl and covered with cold water.
I meant to only let them stand overnight, but I’ll be honest I forgot about them for a few days and they ended up steeping on my counter for about three days. In fact, at one point The Husband even asked if I had ruined the whole things by letting them sit that long. When I finally strained the water, I ended up with a liquid the color of honey and intensely fragrant.
I finally made the sorbet Monday night as a Memorial Day treat. I’m relieved to report my forgetfulness did not ruin the recipe. In fact, I think it just intensified the flavor. If you could bottle summer and then serve it frozen, it would taste exactly like this – earthy with a hint of sweetness. Exactly like honeysuckle but without all the work and all of the reward. This is definitely going to become one of those rare summertime treats that we look forward to year after year.
I made my sorbet in our ice cream maker. However, if you don’t have an ice cream maker you can make this as a granita. I have included instructions for both below.
For the honeysuckle water:
- 2 cups honeysuckle blooms
- 3 1/3 cups cold water
For the simple syrup
- 1 1/3 cups cold water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place the honeysuckle blooms in a large nonreactive bowl. Pour cold water over the blooms and stir a few times to mix. Allow the blooms to stand in the water for at least 24 hours, however for a more intense flavor you can allow them to stand for a few days.
Strain the mixture. Reserve the honeysuckle water and discard the blooms.
For the simple syrup, combine the remaining cold water and the sugar. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved.
Stir in lemon juice and cinnamon. Allow simple syrup to cool.
If making sorbet, combine honeysuckle water and cooled simple syrup in the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve or freeze immediately.
If making granita, combine honeysuckle water and simple syrup and pour into a 9 x 12 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Carefully place the dish on a flat surface in the freezer. Freeze for two hours, then scrape the mixture with the tines of a fork. Return to the freezer. Repeat this process three more times, every two hours, for a total of eight hours.