Forsythia, which is in bloom at the moment, is a shrub that produces gorgeous bright yellow flowers in the spring before its leaves start to shoot. After attending Rob Handel’s Wild Edibles class last week, I discovered that I had a huge forsythia bush on my property and that now is the time to make forsythia syrup with the flowers on this shrub.
The small, papery blooms are perfect steeped in a syrup to use in sodas and cocktails. The syrup tastes floral, like perhaps a lighter rose petal, yet retains a tad of earthiness. Use half an ounce in a highball glass with ice and sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. As with all wild edibles, be sure to make a positive identification of the plant before you eat it. Forsythia bushes can be mad looking when they’ve been left to grown wild. They propagate on branches that shoot out from the bush and stick in the ground and start growing. Some people prune their forsythia into hedges and archways for weddings and entrances. You can make syrups with any edible petals like wild rose that blooms later in the year.
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of forsythia flowers
You can make more syrup, but the ratio must be the same: 1:1 of water and sugar. Slowly boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved and let it boil for a minute or two on low until it’s syrupy. Wait until the mixture has cooled a little: you don’t want to burn the flowers, but you want the mixture to be hot enough. Rinse the flowers in cold water and add them to the syrup. Stir the flowers gently into the liquid until they are soaked in syrup. Cover and steep overnight.
In the morning, strain the syrup a couple of times and bottle. Unless you preserve the syrup by canning or other means, it will last for a few months in the fridge.
Vodka with Forsythia – Serves 2
2 ounce of syrup
2 ounces of vodka
8 ounces of sparking water
1 slice of cucumber or flowers to garnish
For a refreshing alcoholic beverage pour the vodka and syrup into a glass and top with sparkling water.