The taste of flower & ginger.
Many of you might know the elderflower syrup, with its flowery taste. Not as well-know, but just as delicious is the syrup made of the magnolia flower. It reminds me of elderflower syrup. It is a beautiful but subtle, flowery scented syrup with some hints of ginger.
You can make this syrup from February to April, depending on when the magnolias are blooming. But you will probably notice when it is time to make this sweet treat, as the magnolia tree in bloom is hard to miss.
This recipe is super simple. So if you want to try your hands on foraging, or if you want a special taste in syrup, this is a good recipe to start!
The magnolia tree
The magnolia tree grows all around the world, but is mostly centered in Northern America, Asia and Europe. You might not recognise the tree year round, only when it is in bloom, as the tree is most well-known for its beautiful big blossoms.
You can recognise the blossom by its big petals which are mostly coloured white, with hints of pink at the bottom. Some varieties of the magnolia are fully white. The flowers of the tree are edible (although not all of them have been tested, if you want to be absolutely sure, check this list).
The magnolia blooms early in spring, sometimes even in February! You can pick the leaves when they are just about to fall off. They are easy to remove from the stem at this time.
Please note that in a lot of places foraging in general is not legal, but it is highly tolerated if you only pick for your own consumption. So. Don’t overdo it, the bees need some food as well 🙂
Medicinal use of magnolia flowers
The magnolia flowers have been used for centuries as a cure for common cold, sinus pain, hay fever and headache. So it is not only delicious, but healthy as well!
The bark is supposedly also edible, and can relief anxiety, stress and depression. I would however not recommend taking the bark of a tree, as it can hurt the tree, making it more susceptible to infections.
! Do not use/eat magnolia flowers when breastfeeding or pregnant. Or when you are unsure if it combines well with any medicine you take !
Recipe: Magnolia syrup
Ingredients (for 1 liter)
- 25 magnolia leafs
- 1 liter of water
- 300 g regular white sugar
- The juice of half a lemon
- Boil the water, let it cool for a little bit and then pour it over the magnolia leaves. It is better to not pour boiling water over the flowers, as this burns the leaves and the medicinal effects wear off. So it stays healthier!
- Leave the magnolia soup overnight for the flavours to really get into the water.
- After soaking them overnight, take the petals out of the water
- Sterilise an empty bottle (I used a left over gin bottle). You can do this by putting them in the oven on 120C for 10 to 15 minutes. Or cooking the bottles in water for 10 minutes. In both cases you should wash and rinse them first if you are reusing bottles.
- Add the sugar to the magnolia water and let it simmer for 5 minutes
- Put the syrup in the bottles and cap them!
Some serving tips
The taste of the syrup is already really refreshing. But sometimes I like to add a slice of lemon for extra freshness. Mixing the syrup with sparkling water is another way of serving it and is also amazing.
You could also use the syrup undiluted and drizzle it over some (lemon) ice cream, yoghurt or pound cake!
Because the flavour is quite subtle, it can be combined with many things. So if you come up with another use, let me know!
I am curious how you guys like the it. let me know in the comments if you made it!
See you out there!