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 11 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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30 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
  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. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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

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