If you’ve ever pulled a drop of nectar out of a honeysuckle flower, eagerly ingesting its intoxicating scent, imagine eating that same flavor by the spoonful! In this recipe, cinnamon and honeysuckle flowers team up to create the ultimate nostalgia-inducing sorbet (if honeysuckle happens to induce nostalgia in you).
On top of the sensational taste, when we harvest honeysuckle we are harvesting an invasive plant with a penchant for taking over hillsides and shading out our native plants. This means that you can pick honeysuckle flowers without fear of overharvesting and that in some cases harvesting the flowers can actually help native plant populations. When you pick the flowers, it reduces the production of honeysuckle berries which is one of the main ways that honeysuckle spreads. So grab your jar and let’s get honeysuckling!
Honeysuckle Flower Sorbet Recipe
This recipe is inspired by Bill Smith's Honeysuckle Sorbet in Garden & Gun.
- Makes: 1 quart of sorbet
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Passive time: 9-12 hours
- 3 1/2 cups cold water, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 cups gently packed honeysuckle flowers, a mixture of orange and white blossoms as well as some buds
- [optional] 3-4 medium-sized sassafras leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Bring 1/2 cup of the water to a boil in a small saucepan then add the sugar, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Add the remaining 3 cups of cold water to bring the solution to room temperature. Stir in the honeysuckle flowers and sassafras leaves, is using. Cover and let infuse for 8-12 hours in the fridge.
- Once the flowers have infused and the liquid tastes nice and honeysuckley, place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain out the flowers and leaves. Discard the leftover flowers.
- Stir in the lemon juice, white wine and cinnamon. Taste and add a pinch more of cinnamon if necessary. The mixture should have a hint of cinnamon, but the flavor shouldn't overwhelm the flowers.
- Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Enjoy!
Honeysuckle Sorbet Notes
Honeysuckle flowers singing their hearts out in a 90s boy band
- The sorbet is best the day it is made. If you have leftovers, you can let them thaw in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving for a softer sorbet.
- I recommend using a mix of orange and white blossoms as well as the closed white buds because this is what I usually find when I am harvesting and they each add slightly different elements to the flavor. However, you can use whatever mixture you find as long as it is at least 2/3 opened flowers.
- To make this alcohol-free, you can use 1/3 cup water with a few drops of lemon juice in place of the wine. I would also recommend adding an additional 1/4 cup of sugar in step 1 to help create a softer sorbet.
- Sassafras leaves have a very different taste from the better-known sassafras root. The leaves add a soft lemony flavor to the sorbet.
Illustration courtesy of Studio Gooz