Step 1. Enjoy your lilacs. Bring them in and put them in a vase, and breathe in their rich, intoxicating fragrance.
An extra note: Don’t use store-bought lilacs. There is no way to know how they were grown, and whether they are contaminated with chemicals. Also, if you are foraging for them, don’t pick them from along the highway (there are tons growing there in our area right now) because they will be coated with car fume residues.
Step 2. When they begin to droop, pluck them. It takes time, so have a seat, put on a podcast, and pluck the tiny blossoms from their stems. I find this very meditative and therapeutic. If you have kids, they will probably want to help.
Step 3. Freeze them. Put them in a ziplock bag and pop them into the freezer. You will want to collect roughly the same amount of flowers you are hoping for in wine– a gallon container full, for example, of flowers, for a gallon of wine. I am inclined to think that the volume can be a little less if we are letting them wilt a bit first. We are going for about 3- 4 quarts of collected flowers.
Step 4. Stand by. I will be dilligently following Steps 1-3, and then I’ll make some wine, and tell you all about it. Then you can make some, too!
Step 5. MAKE the Lilac Wine!
If you would like to use your lilacs, but won’t be able to collect enough for wine-making, then you can save them for tea! Just hang bunches upside down to dry. Once completely dehydrated, pull of the petals and store in an air-tight jar or tin, and steep as you would any loose herbal tea.
So… Making Lilac Wine– Are you in?