Homemade Honeysuckle Ice Cream

In life, as well as in the kitchen, I’m a big believer in making use of what you’ve got, and right now I’ve got a rambling honeysuckle vine draped over my front porch, just coming into bloom this week.  Last year at this same time I made Honeysuckle Iced Tea with those very blossoms and I was amazed at how beautifully the fragrant nectar of the flowers infused into the tea.  The flavor is subtle and exotic, and since you can’t actually see any evidence of honeysuckle in this ice cream, it’s one of those recipes that requires a little bit of imagination.  If you’ve ever gotten a whiff of a honeysuckle flower, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  When you translate that into a food, it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted…kind of a hybrid of flavor and scent, and it really stretches my whole concept of what a flavor can be.

homemade honeysuckle ice cream

The light floral makes a surprisingly refreshing ice cream.  I added the vanilla bean to ground it with a familiar flavor, but the honeysuckle holds its own, which makes sense since it was created by Mother Nature to be a powerful attractant.

honeysuckle ice cream, infused with the subtle perfume of honeysuckle blossoms

The process for making this ice cream is simple enough.  I just picked a big bunch of blossoms (it’s best to pick edible flowers in the morning when they’re fresh) and removed any leaves and stems.  The flowers come in little pairs, and you want to pinch them off all the way down where they attach to the leaves, because that’s where the nectar is stored.  I steeped them in my cream, milk, and sugar mixture by bringing it all up to a simmer and then turning off the heat.  I let it cool, then refrigerate it over night to give the flavor plenty of time to infuse.  In the morning I strained out the flowers, added vanilla bean, and processed it in my ice cream maker.

making honeysuckle ice cream

This is a very delicate flavor, definitely not meant for gobs of chocolate sauce or sprinkles.  Serve it simply, all by itself, or with a plain cookie, and let the unique floral perfume of the blossoms shine.  Save a few fresh flowers to scatter around for effect.

honeysuckle ice cream

This would be a very elegant dessert to serve at a spring shower or dinner party.

delicately flavored honeysuckle ice cream

Honeysuckle Ice Cream

Yield: makes about 1 pint

Honeysuckle Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms (this is approximate)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Put the cream, milk and sugar into a medium saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the honeysuckle blossoms into the pan and and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the mixture come to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. In the morning, strain the blossoms out and add the vanilla bean seeds. Mix well to break apart any clumped seeds.
  5. Process the cold mixture in your ice cream machine according to its directions.
  6. Put the soft ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/honeysuckle-ice-cream/

honeysuckle flavored ice cream

Honeysuckle bushes or vines are very common in the States, so check around and see if you can spot one.  Depending on where you live, they will come into bloom sometime in the early spring and go right through summer.  If you don’t happen to have a honeysuckle vine handy, don’t worry, you’re not out of luck.  You can do this same thing with all kinds of edible flowers.  Just be sure your flowers are clean and pesticide free.  I think roses would work wonderfully, just remove the petals and steep them just like I did with the honeysuckle.  Jasmine, lilac, or lavender would also work – pick a flavor that you like and give it a try.

delicately flavored honeysuckle ice cream

Why should hummingbirds have all the fun?

 

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34 Responses to Honeysuckle Ice Cream

  1. Eileen says:

    Oh, wow. This looks wonderful. I love using flowers as flavoring. Can’t wait to try this.

  2. Marlene says:

    Oh my! Now I wish I still had my vine, as we had to pull it out to build our new pool deck, it covered the entire side of the old deck! I started with 2 very small 4 inch plants, it is my all time favorite flower! I plan to replace it but haven’t figured out where I want it yet as I want it nearby my back deck so I can smell the wonderful fragrance it gives off! I will try to find some flowers somewhere that I can pick to make this wonderful ice cream! It looks and sounds delicious!

  3. Kenan says:

    Can’t wait to try this! :)

  4. this is the best ice cream idea in the history of ice cream! Stunning photographs! {PS congrats on your InStyle interview!}

  5. Just the title of the post names me swoon. Honeysuckle Ice Cream! Oh I just love it. What a fantastic idea, Sue! By the way, my sister sent me a link to your blog the other week and said “what a great name and a great blog.” I replied “duh, I follow her already!!”

  6. First up – these photos are just gorgeous! And second – honeysuckle ice cream is brilliant. I had it growing all over my yard in California and I can still smell it. Glorious!!!

  7. What a delightful sounding flavour! I don’t think I’ve ever tried anything like this before but now that I’ve seen your recipe I want to seek out honeysuckle flowers :D

  8. We are ice cream hounds here in Florida this one is a lovely difference from the rest! Thanks for your visit!

  9. Love the simplicity of this! Who knew honeysuckles could make ice cream taste so good!?

  10. Even though I grew up in the country, I often forget how delicious flowers are converted to flavors. Honeysuckle is my mother’s favorite aroma – my house was always full of it growing up. Thanks for the instructions on how to prepare the blossoms properly. :)

  11. Liz says:

    Your photos have me smacking my lips, Sue! What a perfect spring ice cream flavor!

  12. I would have never thought of using honeysuckles in ice cream, I love the idea! The ice cream loves so refreshing. Your pictures are so lovely.

  13. Velva says:

    That is amazing….I live under a rock. I had no idea you could use honeysuckle blossoms. This is beautiful. I can totally imagine the subtle scent and flavor it would add to ice cream.

    Velva

  14. Wow, you’re good! I would never have thought of honeysuckle ice cream. Brilliant idea, wonderfully done. Thanks!

  15. Oh Sue I know I’d love this ice cream! My Mother had honeysuckle vines growing wild along a fence when I was a child and my friends and I would pull the flowers out and slurp the honeysuckle juice from the bottom. It was so sweet! I wonder if it would grow in my backyard? I’ll have to plant some if I can find the seeds.

  16. I think my honeysuckle has bit the dust. That makes me very sad now that I know I could have made this! Love those photos and this recipe!

  17. Sue, this is the most beautiful ice cream I’ve seen!!!! and honeysuckle blossoms?!!! Amazing!!! I love it!!!

  18. PurpleQueen says:

    Oh My! Honeysuckle has to be one of my most favorite things! We don’t get any blooms until late May here in the North East. It’s a short season for such a wonderful flower; and as you said the scent is absolutely intoxicating! Many thanks for another fun post!

  19. Susan says:

    You are so lucky to have a honeysuckle growing in your warm climate, Sue. I wonder if they sell honeysuckle extract anywhere :) I’m sure your delicately flavored ice cream must taste wonderful on a warm day!

  20. bellini says:

    You are definitely adventurous in the kitchen, This method would be perfect more any edible flower or maybe even citrus. Not all have the gorgeous fragrance of honeysuckle.

  21. Honeysuckle is so fragrant so I can only imagine how scrumptious this ice cream is! Love the creamy texture too!

  22. You are simply amazing Sue. I remember your tea from last year. I also still think about the tons of nectar we robbed from honeysuckle vines when I was a child. We would sit in the grass and suck the ends of the blooms to get every last bite. I think this recipe is brilliant and am very sure it will end up in a magazine! Congratulations on a fantastic recipe!

  23. How absolutely beautiful! I can only imagine how amazing this must taste! I have a huge honeysuckle plant in my garden that definitely needs to be put to good use. I definitely see this ice cream in my future!

  24. Barbara says:

    Oh! You are so lucky to have honeysuckle growing right at hand. I’m jealous. It loves Florida, but I don’t have any…will ask my garden club who does and steal some blooms away! A beautiful ice cream, Sue. And great photos, per usual. I’ve pinned it.

  25. I can see I’m going to have to take a scissors along on our morning walk. We don’t have any honeysuckle in the yard but we definitely smell the intoxicating aroma at this time of the year when we’re out in the neighborhood. I love to pause and just inhale but never thought of using them for culinary purposes. Quite brilliant!

  26. its funny that you post this bc I was just trying to explain to my little boys the other day at the park that mommy used to suck honeysuckles from a tree by her house when she was little. They thought i was insane! This ice cream screams at me and I just adore it. wish i had some now

  27. How unique and beautiful! I’m definitely going to find myself some honeysuckle when it comes in to bloom here to try this :)

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