How to Use Cherry Blossoms
Revered in Japan, the cherry blossom or sakura holds a significant place in Japanese food culture. Although the fresh petals don't taste much, they're used in a wide variety of foods and cosmetics.
Here are some of the healthiest ways to use cherry blossoms in cooking and at home.
Preserved Cherry Blossoms
One of the most common ways of treating sakura is pickling. After plucking, the farmers wash flowers in water and Ume plum vinegar, which preserves the beautiful pale pink color. Then, they pickle the flowers in salt for several weeks, a method to preserve the unique flavor of cherry blossoms throughout the whole year. You can purchase this product easily online or at a local Japanese grocery store. Buying this product will enable you to make various cherry blossom foods at home: sakura cookies, ice cream, cocktails, cake and more.
Cherry Blossom Eau-de-Vie
1 cherry tree in bloom
1 – 2 liters flavorless 80 proof alcohol (vodka will be fine)
2 liter glass jar with lid
Pick a very large quantity of cherry blossoms — about 1 kg. Stuff all the cherry blossoms into the jar. Fill with alcohol. Cover and set aside for three to five days. Strain/decant the resulting extraction into a bottle. Discard the remaining flower pulp.
This eau-de-vie can be used anywhere one might use bitters in cocktails or vanilla extract in cooking or baking.
Last year, I visited Japan during the cherry blossom season. I can say that it was my favorite vacation so far. There, I found out that the Japanese make tea out of these lovely cherry blossoms as well.
These little flowers look like they are from fairy tales and that amazed me. But I was curious to see what are the benefits of cherry blossom tea.
Here are some benefits I found:
This tea is high in antioxidants. The antioxidants help protect and heal the cells in your body from the free radicals. They inhibit oxidation and help to remove the damaging oxidizing agents from your body. Cherry blossom tea is great for mature skin as it helps to reduce the wrinkles and regenerate the skin. Promotes collagen formation. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce the uneven pigmentation and cleanse the skin of toxins. The skin will appear clear and brightened. Cherry blossom is known for its rich anti-oxidant levels and soothing properties. Rich in essential fatty acids, it repairs the skins natural barriers to promote a smooth, supple skin.
I love this healthy and ultimately floral beverage! Typical sakura tea consists of a blend of sencha green tea and dried cherry petals. You just need to steep cherry blossoms in hot water to make sakura tea. This is is worth trying if you are curious.
How to make sakura tea?
- Place 2-3 flowers in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. Remove blossoms from bowl. Reserve salted water and set aside.
- Gently pour hot water over flowers (approximately 160 F), let steep for at least 5 minutes.
- Pour yourself a cup of tea and add salted water to taste.
Sakura & Beauty
Sakura is an elegant symbol of Japanese beauty, like the rose represents the beauty of the west.
Sakura is Ideal for a mature complexion, therapeutically regenerative it is anti-aging, whitening, and is an anti-glycation agent which promotes collagen formation in the fibroblasts. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can also help to lighten uneven pigmentation, due to sun exposure, by inhibiting the production of melanin. It cleanses the skin of toxins to leave a brightened, healthy skin.
Here is a good recipe of a homemade sakura moisturizer, that can be used daily.
Homemade Sakura Moisturizer
50ml cherry blossom hydrolat (I usually order online)
50ml cherry blossom glycerine
2 drops 100% natural cherry aroma oil
Decant the hydrolat into a glass bottle
Add the glycerite
Add the drops of cherry oil
Shake to combine the ingredients
This moisturizer is suitable for any skin type. I suggest keeping it in the fridge for an additional cooling effect on your skin.
Have a lovely day!