A little while back I would have been the first to complain that foragers seem to be obsessed with making everything into a syrup – especially flowers. However, I’ve gradually learned that it’s one of the best ways of harnessing and preserving the flavour of many of nature’s best, and most fleeting specialties. Making syrups is also a great way of making the most of things that might otherwise be wasted, like citrus peel or ginger peelings. Over the past 12 months I’ve made syrups with all sorts of things including elderberries, young pine cones, and so many flowers like gorse, dandelions, elderflowers (of course), flowering currant, magnolia blossoms, and the focus of today’s post, cherry blossoms.
The amazing thing to me is that every flower I’ve made syrup with has such a unique and unexpected flavour – nothing just tastes “floral” like you might expect. Gorse tastes like coconut, dandelion like honey, flowering currant like blackcurrant, magnolia like ginger, and cherry blossom like almond. Sealing that flavour into a bottle of sweet nectar that you can use throughout the year brings such a range of possibilities into the kitchen. I loved Alexis Nikole’s recent Instagram post (if you’re not following her you should check out her grid here – she’s brilliantly entertaining) about how versatile syrups and vinegars are. Think outside the realms of cocktails and pancakes (although there’s NOTHING wrong with those) and you realise you can use them in glazes, salad dressings, fruit compotes/crumbles, use instead of sugar in baking recipes. Feel free to experiment and see where it leads!
Cherry blossoms have brightened up our days lately and I’ve been excited to make some more of this cherry blossom syrup. Not all cherry blossoms are edible, so to be on the safe side I always look out for the Prunus serrulata species of flowering cherry. The “serrulata” part of the name refers to the serrated edges of the petals that give the trees a lovely fluffy, cloud-like appearance.
The subtle but unmistakeable almond notes of cherry blossom can be perfect in a cocktail, or even just a glass of soda water. As the flavour isn’t overly floral, the blossoms are really versatile and make a good vinegar infusion too. Some claim that cherry blossoms have calming, adaptogenic properties so I sometimes add a little to a moon milk or spiced chai in the evening as a soothing treat.
Cherry Blossom Syrup Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-2 cups cherry blossom petals
- A few raspberries for colour (very much optional as it will also change the flavour)
- Heat the sugar and water in a pan gently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the solution is just beginning to boil.
- In a sterilised jar or bowl, pour your syrup over the blossoms and leave to infused overnight.
- Strain into a sterilised bottle/jar and keep in the fridge for best results.
How would you use your cherry blossom syrup? Let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram @plotandlane so I can see and share your creations. I love seeing what these posts inspire you to create!
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