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In Japan, cherry blossoms are not only appreciated for their beauty, but they are also used as a special food ingredient. Since both the sakura flowers and leaves are edible, they are preserved as a way to commemorate the fleeting symbol of spring.
To use the flowers in a variety of dishes, they are carefully handpicked while the buds are still young. They are then washed, drained and dried before sprinkled with salt. On the next day, the brine is squeezed out and the flowers are pickled in ume plum vinegar (梅酢). Finally, they are left to dry again before being packed in a bag or jar in salt.
Cherry Blossom Tea – Sakurayu (桜湯)
How To Use Salted Cherry Blossoms in Recipes
With a lightly salted flavor and a unique floral aroma, salted cherry blossoms are ideal for sweet and savory dishes. The gorgeous pink also adds a touch of beauty to the food.
Cherry blossoms are most commonly used to make a tea called sakurayu that is served during celebrations such as wedding ceremonies. They are also a favorite in making wagashi, the traditional Japanese confectionary.
When spring comes around, I’d often order a bag of the pickled cherry blossoms and make some of my favorite spring-theme foods such as cookies, jelly, chiffon cake, sakura salt and so on.
You too can make delicious recipes using salted cherry blossoms such as:
Where to Buy Salted Pickled Cherry Blossoms
You can purchase Salted Pickled Cherry Blossoms from this online store that ships internationally. You can also buy it through Amazon from the same seller. If you have access to cherry blossom trees, you can even try pickling the sakura flowers yourself!
I hope you get to enjoy a taste of the precious cherry blossoms season in Japan right in your home.
Wish to learn more Japanese ingredients? Visit our Pantry Page.