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 spring-themed Wagashi and onigiri. It imparts dishes with a cherry blossom aroma and spring motif.
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What Are Pickled Sakura Leaves
As the name suggests, pickled sakura leaves are salt-cured cherry blossom leaves. It’s made by picking tender young leaves that sprout in May, blanching them, and then salt pickling for a few days. It’s an ingredient that makes an appearance during the cherry blossom season.
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.
How To Use
They are essential in Kansai-style sakura mochi, a Wagashi of pink-tinted glutinous rice with anko sweet red bean paste inside (Kanto-style sakura mochi does not use the leaves).
Recipes Using Pickled Sakura Leaves
Where To Buy
You can purchase them online from Japan (ships globally) or from Japanese grocery stores. The most expensive and high-quality leaves are imported from Japan. You can find it 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.