Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Cherry Blossom Syrup

Pink and white spring blossoms for making syurps

It is possible to taste, drink in and immerse yourself in Spring in so many ways. This morning I was standing under my friend's flowering cherry tree, enjoying the floppy bunches of blossoms and their subtle scent.

This afternoon I'm making a Cherry blossom syrup and I'm sharing the recipe with you. Cherry trees typically flower for no more than 2 weeks, making it a special window to enjoy in Spring.

Flowering cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms have been used in Japanese cuisine for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The Japanese make a special occasion of appreciating the season of cherry blossoms with their Hanami festivals. Hanami translates as 'viewing flowers'.

Loving spring blossoms

Cherry blossoms are known as sakura in Japan, here I make a simple blossom syrup for drizzling over desserts. Earlier in the season I made a blackthorn flower syrup, and I was interested in finding out how differently they tasted from one another.

Both cherry and sloes (the fruits of the blackthorn) are members of the Prunus family. Here's the recipe.

Cherry Blossom Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 30 g (1.5 compressed cups full) cherry blossoms
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) boiling water - enough to cover the blossoms
  • 40 g soft brown sugar

Place the blossoms in a mug or heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and cover for 2-4 hours. Immediately the water hits the blossoms their almond scent is released. It smells sweeter than the blackthorn blossoms. Lets see!

Spring blossoms in a vase

Strain the liquid off the blossoms and place in a small pan with the sugar. Heat over a low heat and stir to dissolve the syrup then store in a sterilised bottle of jar or use immediately in the recipe below.

How does cherry blossom and blackthorn blossom compare in syrups?

Cherry blossoms offers a subtler flavour to blackthorn flowers, with less of a bitter aftertaste. This is also a good reason not to soak the blossoms too long - 4 hours is plenty.

Rice Pancakes with Cherry Blossom Syrup Recipe

The cherry blossom syrup compliments these Japanese-style pancakes perfectly. A simple rice pancake recipe which picks up the sweet, almond flavour of the syrup. These are light and make a delicate dessert.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 120 ml yoghurt
  • 350 ml water
  • 140 g rice flour
  • 1 tsp cherry blossom syrup, plus extra for drizzling over the pancakes.
  • Oil for frying

Whisk together the yoghurt and water, then stir in the rice flour and teaspoon of syrup. Combine well and set aside for a couple of hours or more. I use a small frying pan for this recipe, but you could use a full-sized frying pan and make larger pancakes.

Over a medium heat, add a teaspoon of oil until hot. Add a ladle of batter, just enough to make a thin pancake. Swirl the batter around the pan to make an even layer filling the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Serve warm, drizzled with Cherry blossom syrup.

Rice pancake with cherry blossom syrup

5 comments on “Cherry Blossom Syrup”

  1. I’ve made cherry blossom syrup using shite sugar but it looks green rather than the pink colour I was expecting. Is this normal and is it ok to use?

    1. Hi Ruth, I can't comment on the colour, I can only ask; did you remove the green bits from the flowers (this might change the colour and bit more obvious with white sugar), not soak for more than 4 hours and are sure it is cherry blossom? How does it smell and if you're sure you've the right plant, how does it taste?

  2. The pancake idea sounds lovely! I’ve used a similar technique taught to me by a Japanese friend and mine always turns out a pale green rather than pink. Definitely cherry blossoms, just petals, and it is still delicious!

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