I recently decided to try pickling cherry blossoms.
I followed this recipe: wagashichronicles.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/salt-preserved-c…
It is important to use the right kind of cherry blossom. You can tell which it is because it flowers a bit later than the other kinds of cherries.
I was a bit unsure how to harvest the cherry blossoms, as I live near a local cherry blossom filled park, but I didn’t think it would be much appreciated if I started trying to pluck them off the trees. That sort of thing seems to be frowned on here!
Luckily I was blessed with some very stormy weather which knocked lots and lots of the buds off onto the ground, so I could forage them off the grass without being reported to the park police (or something).
The recipe calls for umesu, plum vinegar, which I don’t have, but the replacement is salt water with a dash of rice wine vinegar, which I did have.
Something amazing happens when you put the solution on the flowers (and the leaves too!), they start to give off a perfumey, marzipan like smell. I tasted them at this point, but its also very bitter, so not that palatable. My husband became paranoid that there was cyanide in cherry blossoms, due to the smell, but I ate quite a few during the pickling process, and, well, I’m still here!
Using my recently pickled cherry blossoms, I attempted to create cherry blossom mochi!
I used this microwave recipe: allrecipes.com/recipe/microwave-mochi/
All I can say is be conservative with your timings, especially if you are using a reduced quantity recipe! Its easy to over cook this! My first batch came out caremelised and hard!
I didn’t put sweet bean paste inside the mochi as I was really just testing out the mochi dough recipe at this point.
I thought it was VERY delicious, but that it will probably be even nicer with the addition of the red bean paste. The sweetness of the dough counteracts the slight bitterness of the cherry blossom, and the salt from the cherry blossoms is a nice counterpoint to the sweet.