Eating Foraged Food - Lilac Ice Cream
So for some of us gathering lilacs can be either a wild, urban, or backyard foraging project. In my area they are finished, but I think in some places - in Canada at least - they are still blooming. If I am too late feel free to try this with other edible flowers. I am going to be collecting some wild rose as soon as possible and trying this recipe again. Where I live, it seems like everyone has lilacs in their backyards, but the plant has also naturalized to some extent and you can find the purple blossoms of syringa vulgaris dotting the ditches along roadsides. Their fragrance is sweet, but their beauty is fleeting. I think the blossoms only last for a couple weeks in their full glory.
Our friends have the most lilacs I have ever seen in one yard and they grow so many varieties. I almost missed out, but before all the blossoms were gone they sent us home with three shopping bags full of them! I posted earlier about some of the things I made with them, but I felt this ice cream deserved its own special post.
I had a dream to make some lilac ice cream. I am not sure where I got the idea, but it was probably when I realized I had way more lilacs than I knew what to do with and I started madly googling what I could do with them. I have been experimenting with my own ice cream recipes for quite a while, but with limited success. It is so hard to get the consistency right! I read up on message boards, checked other recipes, and troubleshooted until finally I stumbled upon David Lebovitz's recipe for vanilla bean ice cream. I had seen a few specific recipes for lilac ice cream, but they didn't look like they would solve my problems so I gave this one a try, but instead of infusing the milk with a vanilla bean, I used about a cup of lilac blossoms.
Finally! Success at last!
I think I have found my new go-to ice cream recipe. My next plan is to try some other flavours. I won't post the recipe since it isn't mine and the only alteration I made was very small, but I seriously recommend trying this one if you are looking for a good basic ice cream recipe. It is so important to have good ingredients though. I am grateful to have access to good milk and cream in our local supermarkets, and gorgeous backyard hen eggs from a neighbour. That seriously makes all the difference. Don't skimp on the quality when it comes to eggs and dairy - you'll notice right away!
Do you have a favourite ice cream recipe or flavour? Let me know in the comments!