The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Most of us in the metro D.C. area know how the cherry blossoms (also called “sakura”) we view and celebrate each year came to be in our area*. However, I bet most of you didn’t know that those same trees can be great for culinary uses. Yes, cherry blossoms and their leaves are edible and are used as food ingredients in Japan.
Here are a few of their uses:
Sakurayu (Cherry Blossom Tea)
This is the result of mixing boiled water and pickled cherry blossoms. It is described as an herbal tea. This tea is usually served at weddings because the word “sakura” represents “beginning.” It has been savored in East Asian cultures for many generations and isn’t hard to make. Gardenista has a great post on do-it-yourself pickled cherry blossoms.
Sakura-manjū (Cherry Buns)
These delicious steamed buns are filled with sweet bean paste and flavored with cherry blossom flowers. Often they are decorated with a flower on top as well. It is well liked for its contrast between sweet and salty. If you want to learn to make it yourself, here is a good place to start.
This a type of Japanese sweet that uses sweet pink rice cake, red bean paste and is wrapped or covered with cherry blossom leaves. While the leaf is edible it does contain Courmarin (a toxic chemical in some plants), they should not be eaten in large doses. But I know you can’t wait to try it, so head over to Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings for detailed instructions.
Cherry blossom bites
If you’re curious about what other edible arrangements the pink flowers have to offer, check out the Pinterest board of cherry blossom recipes. There’s a little something for everyone from cherry blossom latte and soda to cherry blossom cookies, and even cherry blossom jelly!
*If you aren’t aware read all about how Japan shared their beautiful cherry trees with the US.
Article by: Lendsey Copes, Food Editor of DC on Heels
Always half full! Lendsey xoxo