Honeysuckle simple syrup, aka honeysuckle infusion, or as I like to call it, honeysuckle nectar, is a lightly sweet, simply delicious addition to summertime drinks and treats. Honeysuckle also has a myriad of medical qualities that one can benefit from when enjoying this delicate sweet flower. I have so many wonderful childhood memories of evening walks with my family, plucking the honeysuckle flowers from the wild vines, and enjoying the sweet nectar from the bottom of the bloom.
Honeysuckle is a general term for the members of the Caprifoliaceae family. Many honeysuckle varieties can be seen as 'invasive', as they will vine and grow prolifically when given enough sun and the right environment. In some zones, the greenery of honeysuckle will remain throughout the winter. The most well known varieties of the honeysuckle plant are Lonicera japonica and Lonicera periclymenum. The flowers are the edible part of this plant and are commonly made into tinctures, infusions, and teas.
*Some honeysuckle varieties produce berries, which are often but not always toxic, and should be avoided if you are unsure of their safety.*
A note of caution about foraging : While foraging is a wonderful way to gather food and learn about the landscape around us, it is important to know if there are any varieties or copycats of the plant you are looking for that could be poisonous. It is also of great importance to know which parts of a plant are edible and which are not. Do your proper research and be safe.
Potential medicinal/nutritional benefits of honeysuckle:
Honeysuckle has been used in many cultures for many years for its therapeutic benefits:
Soothes inflammation in the body
Optimizes the digestive system
Helping to reduce your risk of cancer
Clears up skin inflammation and conditions
Remedy for cold and flu symptoms when consumed as a tea.
Managing blood sugar levels
Apply an infusion to skin for inflammation
Honeysuckle tea can eliminate inflammation in the respiratory tract
*Honeysuckle has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine as a contraceptive, and so If you are trying to conceive or are pregnant, I would avoid the use of honeysuckle tinctures and teas.*
Honeysuckle Nectar Water
What you will need:
1 cup clean water
3/4 cup sugar
1 packed cup of honeysuckle blossoms
The clean peel of 1 orange (just the peel not the whole orange)
Clean honeysuckle flowers by gently rinsing them under cold water or dipping them into a bowl of cold water. Set your clean honeysuckle aside.
Add the water, sugar, blossoms, and orange peel to a small pot, and bring to a low boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove pot from heat, and let the flowers and peel steep for 30 mins.
Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a glass jar or other container.
Store in the fridge for up to a month.
You can add your honeysuckle nectar to ice tea, sparkling water, lemonade, or used as a simple syrup over pancakes. You can also use this nectar in place of honey in certain recipes. This recipe can easily be doubled, and you can freeze any excess If desired.
*This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of 'nectar' and the serving size is a teaspoon.