Magnolia Petal Pickle
Who doesn't known and love the glorious Magnolia trees which flower late Winter, early Spring. I've recently made a whole lot of Magnolia Petal Pickles. Magnolia petals are subtly sweet and dreamy.
There are about 220 species in the Magnolia family, & apparently none have known toxicity. If you're not sure if your Magnolia variety is edible, (& want to be 100% sure, which you should be before eating wild food...) you could look it up at PFAF.org or eatweeds.co.uk which has a list of known edible varieties.
Regarding Star Magnolia, it appears that the petals are not edible, however the leaves were supposedly eaten during famine....not sure that I'm that desperate to try them, mine look really hard & chewy!
There are so many ways to cook, preserve & eat your luscious Magnolia petals: fry them, infuse in vinegar or honey, pickle, ferment, make a syrup (next on my to do list!!). I'm looking forward to serving my pickled petals on top of sushi, or slicing into salads.
Yesterday I tried 2 different ways of pickling the petals. One involved blanching the petals in boiling water for 30 seconds first. However this resulted in my gorgeous pink petals turning brown. The other way is how I usually pickle, simply packing a jar full of petals & covering in pickling solution. The petals all floated to the top of the jar once I added the liquid, so next time I will be packing the jar in a rose shape to avoid the floaties sitting on top of the vinegar!
Most recipes suggest Rice Vinegar, however I used Raw ACV because I have 20L of it. (From Coral Tree Organics, a local Organic Apple Orchard).
Magnolia Petal Pickle Recipe
To pickle I boiled 2 cups of vinegar with 1 cup of raw sugar & 2tsps salt until sugar was dissolved. I then added sliced ginger and poured over the petals packed in sterilised jars. I was tempted to add more spices, I was thinking of cardamom, but first I want to see how this flavor develops, and explore more next time. Given the pickling solution these should store a long time, however I'll pop in the fridge once opened.