If you're outside — or even driving with the windows down — in Northern Virginia, you can probably smell the honeysuckle. Despite its status as an invasive species (which is obvious, since you see it everywhere … but at least it smells better than a kudzu vine), I have such good memories of this delicate plant.
As those of us raised below the Mason-Dixon Line can attest, many varieties of honeysuckle flowers are actually edible , containing a tiny taste of nectar at the base of the flower. I wanted a way to concentrate that flavor from my youth and use this crazy plant that was sprawling all over my family's forest — so I came up with the idea of making a simple syrup using honeysuckle nectar.
Honeysuckle Foraging Safety Notes
If you go off foraging for honeysuckle, there are some very important things to note.
- Honeysuckle berries are poisonous.
- Not all varieties of honeysuckle are edible. Be sure to check with a local botanist or foraging expert before proceeding.
Add honeysuckle syrup to coffee, tea or a cocktail of vodka and seltzer! Or, add a teaspoon into a homemade dressing as a thickener and sweetener.
- 1 cup honeysuckle flowers
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup water
- Strip the vines off the honeysuckle flowers and rinse the flowers.
- Add sugar and water to a small pot on the stove. Bring to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Add honeysuckle flowers and remove from heat. Steep for 30 minutes. Strain and bottle. Store in the refrigerator.