3sprigsdry Lilac flowers: this looks like three 4-inch to 5-inch conical sprigs of lilac flowers.
Gently shake your lilac sprigs to dislodge any bugs or critters that may be hiding. Check your lilac sprigs closely and pick off any dried up leaves or shriveled petals.
Have ready a small lidded dish with enough room for the sugar and lilac sprigs.
Pour ½ cup of the sugar into the dish. Lay the lilac sprigs over the sugar, pressing them gently to tuck them into the dish. Then pour the other 1/2 cup of sugar over the lilacs. Tightly seal the dish and leave it on the counter out of direct sunlight for 24 hours.
Remove the lilac sprigs from the sugar - you will see that they look a little shriveled and that the sugar is a little clumpy. This is because the moisture (and delicious scent) from the flowers has been absorbed by the sugar.
Discard the lilacs and keep the sugar stored in the tightly covered container. You can gently shake it or stir through the sugar with a spoon to break up the clumps.
Makes 1 cup of infused sugar. Keep the sugar stored tightly at room temperature away from direct sunlight for up to 1 month.
Choose vibrant lilac blooms that have just opened and that aren't yet turning brown. A few unopened buds is okay. You will get the best flavor from sprigs that have just bloomed.
Lilac blooms grow in cone-shaped clusters. You want three of these clusters for this recipe.
I don't recommend washing the blooms because you don't want excess moisture going into the sugar. So be sure to use lilacs that have not been sprayed or treated, and check the blooms thoroughly for dirt and critters. If you feel more comfortable with washed flowers, make sure they dry completely and quickly before adding them to the sugar.
The sugar is infused with beautiful flavor after 24 hours. In my testing, keeping the flowers in the sugar for longer starts to give the sugar an off taste from the flowers losing their vigor. So plan on removing the flowers after one day.