Did you know Japanese cherry blossoms are edible?
I’d never tried them before, so this weekend I decided to go out and pick some flowers to make into a jam! I read online that the blossoms have a slightly sweet & floral taste, but my family says the jam tastes like rasberries! Keep scrolling for the recipe🌸
The jam on the right I strained the flowers out of & I left the flowers in on the jam on the left.
Although my recipe isn’t at all authentic, I thought I’d include a little bit of the history of sakura and how it’s traditionally used.🌸
In Japan they also make a sakura jelly, but it’s quite different to what I made. The sakura are often pickled and then suspended in agar-agar or kanten based jellies. -Kanten and agar-agar are both algae based thickeners that are used like gelatin.- In Japan it’s called Sakura Kanten, and it has a strong cultural importance.
According to Umami Insider, “Hanami is an annual celebration of spring in Japan that revolves around cherry blossoms. Beginning around the first of April, when the trees start flowering, people from all walks of life spend time “viewing” them. This often means having a picnic party under the cherry trees by spreading out a leisure sheet on the ground. (…) Sweets are also very common, including mochi balls and kanten sakura jelly! (…) The history of Hanami goes back to the Nara period (710-794). People believed that the blossoming of flowers was a divine sign that signaled the beginning of the rice planting season. Because of this, they brought offerings like sake and food to the trees. This is what evolved to the “viewing” picnics in modern Japan, where these cherry blossom trees are still revered”.
The history behind sakura is so interesting! I’m glad my jelly turned out so well, next I think I’m going to try pickling sakura like it’s done traditionally 🌸.
Okay, now on to the recipe!
1oz Cherry blossom flowers (about 1 cup, packed tightly. (Remove as much of the stems as you can)
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon powdered rosemary
2 Cups Water
One 1.75 ounce package of powdered pectin.
1. Wash the flowers if necessary. Add the flowers to a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and half the sugar. Let the mixture sit covered for 2 hours at room temp.
2. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add the flower mixture, the rest of the sugar, and rosemary. Boil the mixture and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in the pectin and boil for one more minute.
3. Strain the flowers out (or leave them in, it’s up to you!) Pour the jam into a pint jar. Allow the jam to cool completely at room temperature before putting the lid on and storing them in the fridge. It may take up to 24 hours for the jam to set completely. Enjoy! 🌸
-This is a great base recipe for rose petal jam too, or any other edible flower jam.
-Next time I’m going to experiment with a sakura & strawberry jam, or sakura & watermelon.
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Sources & further reading: https://www.umami-insider.com/recipe-video-sakura-kanten-jelly/