Pickled sakura leaves are essential in sakura mochi and other spring-themed desserts. It’s a way to savor the spring season with your eyes and taste buds.
Pickled sakura leaves (桜葉漬け) are edible cherry blossom leaves. The Japanese use it to make Sakura Mochi and other kinds of spring-themed Wagashi and onigiri. It’s cherished as it imparts a cherry blossom aroma and spring motif to dishes.
It’s made by picking tender young leaves that sprout in May, blanching them, then salt pickling for a few days.
What Do They Taste
The leaves are mildly sweet and faintly smell of cherry blossoms. The aroma is due to an organic compound called coumarin, found in cherry blossoms and plants such as cinnamon bark and tonka beans.
Recipes Using Pickled Sakura Leaves
Where To Buy
You can purchase them online from Japan (ships globally) or Japanese grocery stores. The most expensive and high-quality leaves are imported from Japan. It’s usually sold in vacuum sealed packets.
How To Store
Store unopened packets in a cool and dark place. Once opened, seal the bag well and store the contents in the fridge. Use within a week.