Just the thought of Iconic Southern Scents and my mind drifts to sweet honeysuckle, exotic jasmine, the faint lemony magnolia and deeply fragrant gardenias. To me, Gardenias are the glamor girls of southern flowers, they don’t wear out their welcome and we remember them long after they’re gone. There may be no greater mood lifter than floating a few blooms of camellias, a big magnolia or several gardenias on water in a cut glass bowl or better yet- floating on top of the warm water of a bath, which is unbelievably soothing.

Honestly, just those thoughts can fling on me a full blown case of a Magnolia Fever. And, the cure might be as simple as a Gardenia Elixir. Southern ladies, like many other cultures tended toward using what they had to make amazing extracts for use in all manner of ways, especially when more expensive extracts weren’t readily available, much like Rose Or Orange Blossom Water. Gardenia Extract is similar to those and must be made when gardenias are in bloom. Recently my friend, Rebecca from the great state of Louisiana, posted two ways to use gardenia blooms- one is an infusion of the blooms into heavy cream for her No churn Ice Cream . Rebecca’s blog is called Why I Baked a Cake, a must read. And if you’re on Instagram- follow her making gorgeous cakes! @Whyibakedacake

Another recipe in her post, is an infusion for steeping gardenia petals in a simple syrup- which I’ve dubbed Gardenia Elixir. Here’s how you make it:

  • Mix 1 cup pure cane sugar to one cup of water in a saucepan, heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the petals only of 4-5 gardenias.
  • Allow to steep at least 4-5 hours (I steeped mine over night)
  • Strain flower petals. Pour into airtight containers.
  • I keep any extra elixir chilled. When used, the fragrance is amazing. And, I made several batches to offer as gifts.
  • Rebecca told me she loves Gardenia Elixir in Tea, Lemonade and her favorite is to add the elixir to Prosecco. I also love it in Limeade. I found having this unusual fragrant elixir on hand, certainly makes any occasion a very civilized event.
  • Gardenias bloom in June, the season of love. Often a suitor would give his sweetheart a corsage of gardenias. Brides have requested gardenias in their wedding bouquets, a gardenia was pinned to the pillowcase of new mother or near bedsides of infirm dowagers; and it was not uncommon for gardenias to grace blankets or wreaths of a beloved’s casket or to discover large evergreen shrubs planted in cemeteries. From the cradle to the grave, southern ladies do love their gardenias. Gardenia Elixir is just one more layer to add on the sweet gardenia’s history.
  • Love y’all, Camellia

    *All photographs are obviously mine.

    15 thoughts on “Gardenia Elixir …

      1. Oh my, I’m sorry. Some do grow them in planters and bring them in during winter. That still might not work for you. Yes! The scent is amazing. Ours has gotten so large, it will have to be cut back this year- very prolific though – so I hope we prune it right! Thank you Gail 🌸🌸🌸

        Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my favorite bushes, how I miss that scent. I think it would not survive in Eastern Washington, our winters are bitter cold. Your pictures are beautiful! Thank you for a wonderful memory of “home.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww Peg, I think you have a case of Magnolia Fever 🥰 I do know Gardenias are often grown in hothouse settings and with effort could survive brought in winter..though that’s a good bit of trouble. Thank you for your sweet comments !

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh how precious-I can never decide which I love best- magnolias certainly have my heart! Camellias, Azaleas, Gardenias and Magnolias….the succession is amazing 💚Thank you Sarah! This Elixir is a keeper, I also believe it could be done with honeysuckle too!


    2. Simply a well written, executed and entertaining blog post…as always!
      I’m so interested in Rebecca’s blog is called Mosquito Supper Club Cookbook but, the only thing I could find is a cookbook by that name by a Melissa M. Martin?
      Do you have a link to Rebecca’s Blog? Would love to follow.

      Liked by 1 person

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s