How to Pickle Magnolia Blossoms

Did you know that magnolia flowers are edible? Not only edible, but also delicious, with a mild ginger flavour. They can be eaten fresh and raw in a salad, but they also work well pickled. Pickled magnolia blossoms remind me of Japanese gari – the thinly sliced and pickled ginger often served with sushi.

How did I come to pickle magnolia flowers? I shared some pictures of the gorgeous magnolia trees blooming in our garden via social media a few days ago, and someone commented that they’d heard the flowers are edible.

Magnolia Tree A jar of pickled magnolia blossoms

After confirming that magnolias are definitely not poisonous, I tried some petals raw and was amazed! They are delicious and definitely gingery. Magnolia flowers have a milder taste than the root ginger we usually use in cooking, with none of its fieriness; they are far more like young and tender ginger, which is commonly used to make gari. That’s what gave me the idea to pickle them in a simple East-Asian style.

Pickled magnolia flowers work well as a condiment for spicy Asian food, as an accompaniment with cheese, and like gari, they are great with sushi.

Magnolia Flowers Magnolia Tree

A Simple Recipe for Pickled Magnolia Blossoms

A jar of pickled magnolia blossoms
4.91 from 20 votes

Pickled Magnolia Blossoms

This pickle is fresh and light and works well with spicy Asian dishes. It can also be used in place of gari (sushi ginger) when serving sushi and sashimi. Once made, it will last for several days in the fridge. 

Ingredients

  • 80-100 grams magnolia petals, freshly picked (see Notes)
  • 150 ml vinegar (see Notes)
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt

Recipe Notes

My tree is a magnolia × soulangeana. Each individual flower is about 10 cm in length and weighs about 10 grams, which provides about 8 grams of petals. If you are using blossoms from a species with smaller flowers, you may like to pickle the petals whole rather than slicing them. 

Use a light vinegar such as rice vinegar, cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar. Avoid stronger choices such as balsamic, red wine or malt vinegars which will overwhelm the flavour of the flowers. I used cider vinegar on this occasion. 

Instructions

  • Measure the vinegar by volume and add the weighed sugar and the salt to it.

  • Heat the pickling liquid gently and stir until the sugar has melted in. You can do this on the stove top or in a microwave - I heated mine for 30 seconds, stirred, and heated again for another 30 seconds.

  • Taste the pickling liquid to check if the balance between sweet and sharp is to your tastes. If not, add a little more vinegar or sugar, as needed. 

  • Carefully break the petals off the flower at their base. Discard everything but the petals. 

    Magnola flower petals
  • Stack the petals of a flower on top of each other, roll them up and slice thinly with a sharp knife. 

  • Drop the sliced petals into the pickling liquid, stirring briefly to ensure they are submerged in the liquid.

    Sliced petals added to pickling liquid
  • Continue until all the flowers are sliced and steeping in the pickling liquid.

    Slicing magnolia flower petals
  • Transfer into a jam jar or suitable container. 

  • Once cool, refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

We had our first taste of the pickle a condiment with a spicy Thai stir fry of pork and green beans and really like it. The sliced petals aren’t particularly pretty but the gingery flavour of the magnolia blossoms really comes through and works very well as a sweet, sharp pickle.

Pickled magnolia petals served as a condiment with a meal

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69 Comments to "How to Pickle Magnolia Blossoms"

  1. RoseMary WELLS

    Will this work, too, with the petals of Magnolia Grandiflora, the American Southern magnolia that is blooming now in May?

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    It should do! When I researched, it said that all varieties of magnolia are edible. They may be a touch more bitter so you might need to adjust sugar up a touch, to taste!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Hi Alex
    I’ve not experimented to give a definitive answer but I’ll try and find out if there’s a way to estimate.

    Julia Milne

    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. i have beautiful lumpy red fruit on my magnolia, can you eat these?

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Hi Julia, our trees don’t get any fruits that I’ve seen. I believe magnolia berries are edible (as in not toxic) but I don’t know how they taste, and whether they are nice to eat.

    Reply
  2. Andrea Metlika

    I did not know this about Magnolia blossoms. I’m very intrigued. Can’t wait to try this.

    Reply
  3. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry

    I must admit I did not know this about magnolia blossoms! I will definitely be giving pickling these a try.

    Reply
  4. Kristen

    I had no idea that you could eat magnolia blossoms! Seeing them covering the trees is one of my favorite parts about spring. I’m going to try this recipe once they come out!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes mine too, I get so excited and overjoyed to see them and that was before I even knew about them being edible!

    Reply
  5. Arleen Stader

    I made my 1st batch of pickled Magnolias and we love it! So easy to make but the prep took some time. Also made Magnolia syrup…..yummy! Thank you so much for the recipe. This will definitely be a family seasonal tradition from now on

    Reply
    Jen

    Thank you for your recipe! So easy and yummy! I’m planning to make this with my students this week. How long will a jar last in the refrigerator?

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    This is an amazing idea! I love pickled foods but have never worked with flower blossoms before. I’m so inspired!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I think you’ll really enjoy these, if you are already a pickle fiend!

    Reply
  7. Karen

    These look great and I’m very keen on pickled flowers such as hibiscus, nasturtium seeds and gorse. We have several magnolia trees here so I may try this recipe when our flowers are out.

    Reply
  8. Mamta

    Interesting! I never knew this. We are surrounded by so many edible things and do not know about them. Well done Kav and save some for me to taste.

    Reply
  9. Choclette

    Absolutely love this idea. I didn’t know about pickling magnolias. Asked CT and he said, casually, oh yes, it’s definitely a thing. Grrr! Why has he never passed that on to me? Just off outside to try one of ours. Though don’t think ours is suitable for pickling.

    Reply
  10. Emma H

    Honestly a total revelation – super simple & a glorious way to preserve such a gorgeous flower! Had no idea this was even a thing! Thank you for teaching me my new thing for today!

    Reply
  11. Simon Day

    Still haven’t raided my neighbour’s garden, but when I do this is the magic potion I plan to make. Such a thing of beauty 🙂

    Reply
  12. evan

    Our magnolias in Atlanta are in full bloom now in mid May. The raw flowers I tasted were bitter but with a gingery undertone to the flavor. Can’t wait to pickle them!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I hope you love them, please let me know that you think once you’ve made and tried them?

    Reply
  13. Luke

    This from a book called “Backyard Foraging”:

    “Grate a few magnolia buds for an unusual spice and leave the rest to flower in your garden.”

    When my magnolia blossoms I will try this. 🙂

    Reply
    Ani Lu

    So I imagine that when grated to flower gratings can be dehydrated and kept of any gingery occasion.

    Reply
  14. kaveyeats

    Hi Storm, unfortunately I don’t have any information on nutrition as I’ve not been able to find a reliable source of this data offline and as a home cook I don’t have the laboratory equipment needed to obtain this data myself.
    The blossoms do not last very long once picked as they start to brown, so it’s best to pick only when you are ready to pickle. Of course you can use them in a fresh salad but again, make and eat it as soon after picking as possible.

    Reply
  15. kaveyeats

    Hi Ella
    They are edible, as in they are not toxic, they are safe to eat.
    But I couldn’t tell you whether they have the lovely gingery flavour or not.

    Reply
  16. Golden86

    We have a magnolia tree in our front garden, and someone told me about this and so I stumbled across your post. They taste amazing on their own and today we have collected leaves to pickle! Thank you for your pickle recipe.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Lovely, I’m so pleased. I had some raw this morning too but was feeling too lazy to pickle, which I’d planned to do this weekend! 😁

    Reply
  17. Eva Connellan

    I have made some rose and highbiscut flower honeys, just wondered if we can also make magnolia honey? I simply soak fresh rose flowers (pedals) into honey and leave in a jar in room temperature for 3 months (lid covered, but not sealed). The smell of the honey after 3 months was just irresistible.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Oh I’ve not tried that but it sounds amazing! If you try, please please please let me know how it works, I love your idea!

    Reply
  18. Dai Alun Hughes

    Is it okay to pickle the whole magnolia flower? I don’t have a tree but my Neighbour has given me permission to forage from her tree of which the blooms are of the more purple colour!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Dai I was planning to try that this year, but didn’t get around to it while ours were in bloom! I would think so, but I would cut or pull the flower away from the green sepals. Let me know how you get on!

    Reply
  19. Jo Davey

    Absolutely loved this recipe – it’s delightfully light and fragrant. Less harsh than ginger but a similar flavour. It’s perfect for Japanese food: I’ve been eating it religiously with dashimaki egg roll and sushi!
    Thanks Kavey!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    So happy you made this and enjoyed the recipe! And are enjoying your pickled magnolia!!

    Reply
  20. deikel daley

    Hi love your page, thank you for the information
    I have a question?
    Can I use any magnolia flowers as adible?
    peace

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    That’s my understanding, from what I’ve read, however some varieties are said not to be as gingery in flavour as others. Is there a particular variety you have access to?

    Reply
  21. Amateur Prepper

    We have a huge Southern Magnolia tree. It’s now on my garden plant list, not just “the tree that makes such a mess in the yard.” They’re beautiful, but messy!

    Reply
  22. Ken Malucelli

    After just posting on Facebook about sweeping up and trashbagging several gallons of leaves from the 4-story magnolia tree in the garden, I thought I’d post on my wall and ask if anyone knew if the leaves were edible…could one maybe make tea from them. I got an immediate response from one of my gardener friends, who led me to this page. BRAVA!!! 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Aah fantastic, hope you’ll try them next time you’ve got lots of beautiful fresh flowers on the tree!

    Reply
  23. Mamta

    Interesting, I never knew this!
    With their ginger flavour, I wonder how they will taste finely shredded and stir fried with a hint of light Soya sauce?

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Not sure what the texture would be like, as they wilt very quickly, but you could try I guess. If you want to eat them as is, I’d eat them raw in salad, but do so as soon as they are picked!

    Reply
  24. barbara

    Thank you for this recipe. I just got sone petals yesterday before the rain started and made my first batch of magnolia pickels. We loved it for lunch today with Sushi. Wish I had made more but I was a bit sceptical (sorry 🤣) and didn‘t want to start with a lot. hopefully I find a tree with still nice petals after the rain, to make some more.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    So happy you enjoyed and no worries about being skeptical — now you know for next year!!

    Reply
  25. Isabella

    I LOVE this recipe. I am wondering if I could somehow make magnolia jam, or jelly? any ideas?

    Reply
  26. Eva

    Thank you for the recipe! Based on a friend sending me this I planted a magnolia in an empty space in my backyard. Hopefully in a few years I’ll be able to try pickling the flowers. 🙂

    Reply
  27. April

    I forgot to put this into the fridge & it was on my counter a few days. Do I have to trash it?

    Reply

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