Preserving the Beauty of Magnolia
While the world remains chaotic at large, the spring in the UK is emerging under our noses and the faithful beauty of the magnolia is bursting into bloom across the country. Take a moment to stop and appreciate their colour, their scent, and their great presence. When a magnolia blooms, it often doesn’t do so by half, so if you’ve got one flourishing in your garden or at a neighbours, you could be forgiven for taking a few flowers for yourself (do seek permission if it’s not yours). They will not last long in the house but did you know that you can pickle them to enjoy at a later date? They taste peppery and floral. Traditionally, the bark and buds have been used for medicinal purposes. Here, we bring a little delight to the table, too.
Picking the Magnolia Petals
Step outside, taking a moment to draw a deep breath and take stock of the world around you. What does the air smell like? Is the sun shining? Can you hear birdsong? Rest your hands on the trunk of the magnolia tree, grounding yourself and looking up into its magnificent blooms. Study each flower before plucking the ones you wish to take home, laying them carefully in a basket or cloth bag to protect the petals. When you’re ready to use them (it’s best to work fast, within 24 hours before they wilt) take your time teasing each petal from the stem to reveal the incredible stamen inside.
450g Magnolia petals
350ml Rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 Tsp Salt
Place petals in a clean, sterilised jar with tsp of salt
Bring vinegar and sugar to the boil
Pour over the petals
Allow to cool
Tightly seal with lid and store in cool, dark place
Once opened, refrigerate and consume within a month
Serve as part of a fresh, spring salad, with cheese, or savour each leaf as a small treat from the fridge.
For more inspiration take a look at our simple and soulful Wild Garlic soup recipe here.