If you are seeing all those beautiful magnolia trees coming into full bloom around you then you can take the joy one step further by doing some spring foraging and making this easy magnolia blossom pickle. I have a tree in my backyard so had just had to! Happy Spring everyone!
What do magnolia flowers taste like?
Firstly, they taste really nice just plain, picked from the tree. You may want to wash them of course! I found their is this juniper type of smell mixed with a faint ginger smell. Also they remind me of a fruit called jamun that I used to eat in India, the smell took me right back to being in school and buying paper bags full of jamun while watch the first rains fall all around us in Delhi! This snack would be devoured with some kala namak or black salt on the bus ride home from school with friends. We would be smacking our lips and licking our fingers sharing them with friends whilst merrily laughing and chatting away.
What to eat magnolia flower pickles with?
Anyhow back to present day Magnolia tree in my backyard. I had to try my hand at making a recipe with its beautiful blooms to celebrate spring. I will probably do this every year from now! You can devour magnolia flower pickles as the perfect accompaniment on a cheeseboard or as a side pickle to sushi or other rice bowls. I am always trying to eat more pickles anyway as vinegar is so good for us when eaten the right way.
How to pick your magnolia blossoms?
I have made a point of trying different types of magnolias and noticed the taste varies amongst different varieties. Try and see which ones you like best! Also as the season progresses and the blooms open fully their flovour changes. They get a little more bitter with age. So try to get to the flowers that are not at peek blooming. The younger ones are sweeter and delicious.
Which vinegar to use for making magnolia flower pickles?
Use white sugar in this recipe as your want to keep the vinegar clear. They will discolour a bit anyway but it helps to have a clearer vinegar solution to begin with. Chinese rice wine vinegar is perfect for this, other vinegars may have too much of their own flavour and interfere with the magnolia flavour.
The recipe could not be simpler, do make sure you wash the blooms well in cold water and remove any bugs that may be around.
Magnolia Flower Pickle
- small air tight bottle or mason jar It should be sterilised or have been washed in the dishwasher along with the lid.
- Magnolia blossoms freshly picked
- 200 ml rice wine vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp white sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Add your rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt into a small saucepan and heat till everything is dissolved. Let this cool.
- Wash the magnolia flowers in cold water inside a colander. Let them dry for five minutes and gently stip the petals without bending or bruising them. Throw away the central stamen part as that is bitter.
- Grab the petals and collect them in a tight bunch without crushing them. Place them inside your bottle or jar trying not to bend them.
- Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the flowers in the jar and cover till the top. Seal the jar. The pickle will be ready to eat in a few hours.
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