I picked and pickled these petals just in the nick of time, right before the flowers opened, after which the petals become more bitter in flavour. Raw, magnolia blossom tastes quite different from what you’d expect. They’re sharp and gingery, a bit like cinnamon even, with a slight botanical bitter at the end reminiscent of I.P.A.
However, pickled in a 2:1 mixture of rice vinegar and sugar, and a bit of salt, it is so similar to pickled sushi ginger it’s crazy!
Making it is very simple.
Just pack your petals in a clean jar, heat up the vinegar and dissolve the sugar and salt in it.
When it’s almost coming to a boil, pour the hot mixture over, close the jar, let it cool down and then put it in the fridge. After steeping for a day or two in the fridge, the vinegar turns a beautiful pink.
Now, I know I’m a bit late with this information, because (around here at least) most magnolia blossoms are already fully open. But maybe they aren’t yet where you are and you can still try it. Or, alternatively, just bask in their blossoming beauty and save this idea for next year. 🌸🌸🌸
As always when foraging, don’t eat wild foods unless you are 100% sure about what you’re picking and be respectful and take only a small amount.