4 Jun 2014

桜の花の塩漬 - Salted cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms are so pretty it's almost a crime to rip them from tree. I remember watching a certain tree near my home last autumn. I was quite sure it might be a cherry tree. Then during the dark winter I unfortunately forgot about it until one fine spring day I looked from the living room window and saw some whitish pink flowers on one tree. It didn't look very impressing, the leaves had started growing already. I'm sure the leaves and blossoms came at the same time, so it wasn't the most impressive bloom I've seen. Next morning I crept there with Foxtail to pick some blossoms (the corgi obviously wasn't very interested in flowers).

I had my suspicions about the blossoms, as they weren't Yaezakura, but instead a simple mountain cherry, though a Japanese variety in any case. And I didn't have ume vinegar (白梅酢) the recipe asked for. I washed them and sprinkled some salt on top and put them under weight in fridge. After a few days in salt, they started exudating liquid and a strong sakura aroma rose from the container. I put them on a paper towel and left them to dry. Next day they were ready to be put into a jar. Now I've got a small jar preserving the essence of spring ♫. I'm planning numerous dishes and bakes I could use them on... more on that later, maybe.

Salted cherry blossoms

50 g cherry blossoms, rinsed and patted dry (Yaezakura is the best, but other Japanese varieties ok, too) picked before full bloom (from tiny buds to 70% full bloom)
1,5 tsp salt + some more
1,5 tsp ume vinegar, optional

Rinse the blossoms and let them dry a while in a colander. Pat them dry with a paper tower. Sprinkle on 1,5 tsp salt. Cover with a light plate etc and let sit in the fridge for 1-3 days until liquid seeps out. Remove the liquid (you could use it for cooking, I accidently poured it down the drain).

(If you have ume vinegar, now it's time to use it: add 1,5 tsp vinegar to the blossoms and let them sit in fridge for 3 days. Then remove the liquid again.)

Spread the blossoms on a tray etc and let dry in shade (it took only 1 day, but it depends on the humidity, temperature..). Preserve in a glass jar. Sprinkle on some more salt. Soak in water for some time to reduce saltiness prior to use.

Edit 5.6.14: I just noticed that this was my 100th post! It seems unbelievable! So on average I've posted once a week as the blog's 2nd birthday is soon approaching!

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