How to Make Cherry Blossom Preserve
It’s cherry blossom season in Japan, South Korea, and China. If you’re lucky enough to find cherry blossoms blooming where you live (Washington DC is the luckiest place in North America), then you should go ahead and preserve some of these precious blooms so you can enjoy them all year round.
Preserving Cherry Blossoms
First, make sure that the flowers you are using have not been sprayed with chemicals or been otherwise contaminated. Cut off some not-fully-opened cherry blossom flowers, leaving a little bit of the stem, and then weigh the flowers. You will add an amount of salt and mild vinegar depending on that weight.
Wash the flowers thoroughly in several changes of water, drain and pat dry with kitchen towels. Layer the blossoms with 20 percent of their weight in sea salt, put a weight on top and leave for several hours or overnight.
Squeeze out the moisture from the blossoms, sprinkle with mild vinegar (1 tablespoon per 50 grams of blossoms), mix and weight down with something like a can on an inverted plate. Leave for 3 days in a cool place or the refrigerator.
Take out the blossoms and line them up in a single layer on a flat sieve, and let dry for 2 to 3 days until the flowers are covered in fine salt crystals. Store the preserved cherry blossoms in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Leaves can be preserved in much the same way as blossoms, but they need to be blanched in boiling water before salting. Use about 25 percent of the weight of the leaves in salt.