If you live in upstate New York, and currently smell sweetness in the air, it is quite possibly the heavenly scent of Black Locust trees in bloom. Robinia pseudoacacia grows 40-100 feet. In early June, it has wondrous clusters of white flowers which look similar to wisteria. I have several black locust trees on my property and when they are in bloom and perfuming the air, the bees spend their days there, drinking in the glory. In fact, the buzzing is so intense from the happy bees, that the air feels electric. It’s a wonderful sensation to stand under the tree with eyes closed, listening and inhaling.
To enjoy the flowers, I make a syrup from them. It’s lovely on ice cream or mixed with club soda for a refreshing drink on a warm day. Capturing the fragrance is easy, but there are a few tips to employ. Generally, to make an herb or flower simple syrup, the herb or flowers are simmered in water, then the water is strained off and the resulting fragranced water has sugar added and boiled again to make syrup. If you attempt that route with Black Locust flowers, you will end up with a green pea tasting syrup. NOT the effect we are looking for.
First, gather the blossoms from the tree on a sunny morning after the dew has dried. A sunny day will strengthen the scent of the blossoms. You may have to wait for a bee to finish his breakfast.
Get a clean quart Mason jar and stuff it loosely with the flowers (make sure no leaves are in the jar). Boil two cups of water with two cups of white sugar just until the sugar dissolves. This is a simple syrup. Pour the hot simple syrup over the blossoms in the Mason jar. Place the lid on quickly so no scent escapes. After a few minutes, your jar will look like this:
After the temperature of the syrup comes to room temperature, put the jar in the fridge overnight. The next day, strain out the flowers by pouring the entire jar into a sieve or colander over a bowl to catch the syrup. Pour the syrup into another clean jar and store in the fridge. To use: put 1 oz of syrup into a glass and add 6 oz of club soda. Adjust to your taste. Sip slowly while savoring your surroundings.