Did you know that Courtenay Elementary has several cherry trees that have edible blossoms? These are the trees on the primary side of the school, along the fence near the visitor parking lot and new shed. These trees are a type of yaezakura (a Japanese cherry tree with multi-layered blossoms) called kanzan cherry trees. You can find these trees all over the Comox Valley. They are in full bloom right now, so if you want to try the recipe described here, you need to act fast!
The blossoms are treasured in Japanese cuisine for their beautiful cherry fragrance and pink hue they give to baking and confections. They are made edible by salting them. Read on to learn how to prepare them.
What you need
- 100 g cherry blossoms (Be sure that you pick double blossoms with the stems like those in the photo below.)
- 20 g salt
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- salt for preserving
- glass jar for storage
1. Give the cherry blossoms a quick rinse to remove any dirt or insects, and then pat them dry.
2. Place the blossoms in a large mixing bowl or freezer bag, and add the 20g of salt and 2 tbsp vinegar to the blossoms.
3. Cover the blossoms with a weight and set them aside for three days.
4. The salted cherry blossoms should be very fragrant after three days. You’ll also notice a fair amount of liquid in the bowl. Remove the blossoms from the bowl and spread them out over newspaper or paper towel, Allow them to dry for 2-3 days.
5. Once the blossoms are dry, toss a few pinches of salt on them, and place the blossoms in a glass jar. Store them in a cool, dark place. The blossoms will keep for about a year.
Enjoying your salted cherry blossoms
Salted cherry blossoms aren’t meant to be eaten on their own, but are used as a decoration that adds color and fragrance to baking.
For example, they can be enjoyed as a tea or a garnish on a pound cake.
A typical use for salted cherry blossoms in Japan is in confections, such as sakura mochi, a cake of red bean paste and mochi rice.