My Honeysuckle Ice Cream is an easy homemade ice cream infused with the delicate flavor of honeysuckle! Serve it alone, or with any of your favorite spring desserts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This would be a very elegant dessert to serve at a spring shower or dinner party.
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.
For a list of common edible flowers, check out my Spring Salad with Edible Flowers post.
Which ice cream machine do I recommend?
I get asked all the time about what machine I use. I use and recommend Cuisinart. I’ve had my machine for years without any issues, I think because there are no fussy electronic parts to break down ~ it’s a simple motor that turns the freezer bowl for churning the ice cream and it works quickly and perfectly every time.
- The machine I use, and it’s the base model. It works great for ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets, and makes all of them in about 2o minutes. Click HERE or click on the image for more info.
Why should hummingbirds have all the fun?
Honeysuckle Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms, more or less.
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Gently rinse the blossoms in cold water. Drain on a clean kitchen towel.
- Put the cream, milk and sugar into a medium saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the honeysuckle blossoms into the pan and and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and let the mixture come to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, strain the blossoms out and add the vanilla bean seeds. Mix well to break apart any clumped seeds.
- Process the cold mixture in your ice cream machine according to its directions.
- Put the soft ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.
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Questions and Reviews
I’m going to give this recipe a try. I’ve already made decent wines using lavender, forsythia, honeysuckle, broom, and prickly-pear flowers. I adjust the extent of fermentation to end up with wines of varying sweetness. The final wines with honeysuckle and forsythia are just a tad on the sweet side which makes them good as desert wines or for blending with drier fruit wines (e.g., strawberry, blackberry).
Love to hear your feedback on this Ron, come back and let us know.
Rinsing the flowers definitely seems necessary to remove any insects, but wouldn’t that process dilute or wash away the nectar? Also, since each bloom has only a pin-drop of nectar, it seems you would need to use a ton of flowers to get enough flavor or is that not true?
The flavor here comes from infusing the flowers in the cream, not collecting the nectar, although I’m sure that does contribute to the flavor. You’re right, it would take forever to collect an appreciable amount of that precious stuff!
How do you deal with the thrips and other tiny bugs? I organically, use nothing at all, grow honey suckles, blueberries, and mulberries. Whenever I’ve harvested any of these there always come with spiders, thrips, and other tiny bugs. I grow honey suckles did the kid’s as I had great memories pulling off the flowers to lick the spot of nectar. Thank you for input. I’m looking forward to this recipe once the flowers bloom again.
I rinse the flowers in cold water, (just clarified that) and then I feel comfortable because the flowers get strained, so any strays would get strained out too 😉
Sue what kind of honeysuckles can we use is there a Certain one that we can only use or is all honeysuckles useable is this recipe
There are over a hundred different types of honeysuckle, Charlotte, and most but not all of the blossoms (not berries!) are edible. I’m using the classic Japanese honeysuckle. You’d have to identify the type you have to make sure it’s edible.
I have a recipe that involves heavy cream in a mason jar. Is it possible to infuse the heavy cream with honeysuckle and then cool it back down before using it in my recipe?
I don’t see why not, and I think you can infuse it cold, too, it just might take overnight in the fridge.