Peony season is coming to a close here. I have a few late bloomers that still have some buds on them but for the most part, we are done. It was a beautiful peony season! We had some doozy of storms that threatened to take them down early but most, not all, survived and provided us with much beauty! The peonies that I planted in my kitchen garden have gotten absolutely huge while the peonies in the field are at various stages (early!) of growth.
Did you know that the petals of peonies are edible (actually the roots and stems are too, but I haven’t gone that far)? I don’t see myself eating a peony petal any time soon, they are rather large, but they are perfect on top of cakes, and infused into milk or simple syrups! This year, I made a peony simple syrup and have had it in cocktails and lemonade. The flavor is fairly subtle, and frankly, I don’t have a great way to describe it except that they taste exactly like they smell! The color is beautiful, just like peonies.
To make the simple syrup, pick your most scented peony as this will impart the best flavor. I used the variety Felix Supreme but I would use whatever you have!
Peony Simple Syrup
1 cup peony petals
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dunk your flower in cold water to get rid of any critters that might be hiding, ants are notorious lovers of peonies. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar completely, add your clean petals and continue to simmer for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature. Add the lemon juice and store in the refrigerator.
A few notes: Be sure your petals don’t have any green on them, this part can add bitterness to your finished syrup. Also, the addition of lemon juice is what turns your syrup the beautiful pink color but I like to use just enough to accomplish that without giving it too much lemon flavor. The syrup can also easily be frozen.
So far, I’ve used the syrup in a delicious gin cocktail and made Peony Lemonade. Be sure to garnish your drink with a petal or two!