Yucca syrup

I was out wandering in the hills at sunset the other night. The clouds were rolling in from the Pacific below me, blotting out most of the signs of civilisation.

And I climbed- up to the area that I call the dragon’s back, though it has another name that is much more boring. I much prefer to pretend that I’m clambering along the spines of some great big slumbering beast that could take off at any moment. Up at the top, the sandy rocks create these perfect seat spots, where you can watch the light go red, and the clouds rushing and turning, and feel the wind whip your hair around your face, and pretend to be alone even though there’s a big big city down there somewhere…

As I was walking up there, this aroma kept hitting me. Like grapefruit and lemon blossoms and sugar had a flowery baby. And I’d stand there in the middle of the trail sniffing at the air wondering where it was coming from. I happened upon a yucca plant close to the trail as I came around the corner. They’re everywhere here at this time of year- when you look out over a landscape you can see their tall white blossom-covered stalks standing out like alien sentinels, standing on guard.

And honestly, I had no idea that they smelled like this. I’ve seen them all the time. I knew that they were edible in entirety- I remember having a conversation with a Cahuilla Indian who told me that they’d dig up the root and build an underground fire pit and roast them for about 24 hours until they were sweet and soft, and that it was the most delicious thing ever. But it had never appealed to me; I was always much more interested in plants for medicine than for food. Until I smelled them.

What I wanted was to capture that smell. That delicate blossomy smell that made me want to roll around in a spiky plant like my cat does with catnip. The only recipes I found were savoury. I assume because the flowers taste slightly bitter, and have a meaty texture to them that would be awfully nice in savoury things. But I wanted something sweet. Because if you can’t tell by now, I have a sweet tooth.

I figured that if I started a syrup then I could do any number of things with it. Like drizzle it on french toast, or stir it through vanilla ice cream, or over fruit salad. So that’s what I’ve done. Since I’ve been getting into this whole alcohol thing lately, I think I might try some sort of cocktail with it. Maybe even tonight. I apologise in advance for anything funny that I say on twitter

between now and tomorrow morning…

This couldn’t be easier. Once you’ve got the yucca blossoms, that is. Try and pick fresh young ones, as the older ones tend to collect bugs and get very sticky. And try and pick them from a short plant because that’s much easier- though you can always just pull the stalk towards you and pluck them off that way.

Yucca syrup

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

4 cups yucca blossoms

Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place the blossoms in a mason jar, and pour the syrup over the top. Cover and let sit for a couple of days. Strain and bottle. This should keep in the fridge for over 6 months, as the sugar is a great preservative.

  • Julie


  • Gareth

    Great photos too!

  • Miss Fruitfly

    great pics

  • Amber

    Excellent!! I’ve not played with yucca in that fashion, but I do similar “savings” with honeysuckle flowers and honey.

    I just grab a jar, fill it full of flower petals, and before they can wilt, cover them in honey! After a bit, the flavor is infused into the honey and you can remove the flowers.

    Yup. I’ll put just about anything in honey, lol…as evidenced by my Pixies Pocket shop!

    Now I want to go out and find some yucca to stick my nose into. I’m curious!

  • Holly

    After reading this post I was surprised when I went to my local Shoppers and found yucca flowers in the International Foods freezer section, along other things I will have to make time to try.

  • Joanne

    Does anyone know the name of the plant? We have one growing in our yard (in Coloraod) and it has gotten taller than our house. Just starting to bloom and this plant looks the closest to ours of any we’ve found.

  • HankShaw

    Good idea! I can’t remember which yucca that one is, but it is all over the Tehachapis north of Los Angeles. It is waaay more fragrant than the little ones most people use as landscaping plants, which also taste good BTW. I may have to make a pilgrimmage south for those yuccas next spring…

  • Butterpoweredbike

    My local yucca looks and smells nothing like this. Now I wants me a good sniff of this one :/

  • Butterpoweredbike

    Oh, and hey, love the new look. Hooray KRA!

  • Aja

    This sounds tasty! I might give it a go. I’m all about my syrups these days.

  • Tre

    Is there any way anyone could send me yucca flowers this spring. I miss them so much and nothing here in oregon! I also would love some white sage… Again oregon.