The Japanese cherry blossom tree known as Sakura produces edible flowers and leaves. Sakura flavor stands for the unique taste of Japanese cherry blossoms. The deep, authentic flavor of Sakura pairs well with tea and pastries.
Since they are commonly found in East Asia, it’s normal for people in other parts of the world to wonder about Sakura, and its flavor.
The petals of Sakura taste flowery and weird if you eat them raw. Sakura or Cherry blossom flavor can be best described as mild floral flavor with a little bit of sweetness and bitterness. You can compare its taste with that of cherries and roses to get a rough idea about its taste profile.
Describing the Sakura flavor is challenging. However, we can offer you some insights if you want to know more about the flower.
Let’s get started!
What is Sakura?
Sakura, the Japanese cherry blossom trees, belong to the Prunus genus. They make stunning ornamental trees but don’t produce edible fruits. Sakura’s edible flowers and leaves have a distinctive flavor and divine fragrance.
You may have seen pictures of Sakura turning mountains and streets pink during spring. Japan celebrates this season with Hanami, or the custom of Sakura viewing parties. Sakura-inspired delicacies make these occasions memorable. But these graceful flowers have only a short life. Thus they represent the transient nature of life in Japanese culture.
The cherished flavor of Sakura emerges with a specific preservation technique. Preservation using salt and plum vinegar add a sweet-salty-sour twist to the taste.
What does Sakura Tastes Like?
The Taste of Sakura lies on a subtly sweet, flowery side. It doesn’t taste fruity like the cherry fruits. Instead, you may get surprised by the earthy, bitter almond-like taste of raw petals. The delicate aroma with an elegant pink hue elevates its appeal.
Sakura flavor gets bold and deep with pickling. The traditional pickling process for Sakura may take up to a month. For picking, you need flowers collected before they enter full bloom. Next, they get washed and sprinkled with salt. After squeezing excess water, add ume-plum vinegar to preserve the color and dry them. Cured blossoms have a salty and sour taste with a flowery touch.
A sweet variety of preserved Sakura gets prepared from the salty variety. You can start by washing the salty blossoms many times to remove saltiness. Then they get coated with sugar and then dried.
The leaves and flowers of Sakura contain a chemical named Coumarin. It derives its sweet vanilla-like scent from this chemical. Coumarin may cause a mild toxic effect if consumed in large quantities. However, you need not worry, as small amounts of Sakura can impart good flavor.
You can see that Cherry blossom has created a strong impression of Japanese cuisine. Teas like Sakura sencha and Sakura-yu celebrate the flavor of Sakura. Sakura mochi, hanami dango, and many other delicacies have adopted this flavor. These days this flavor has expanded its horizon to many western food items. You can get ice cream, cakes, and even Starbucks in Sakura flavor.
The seasonal character of Sakura makes it a valuable ingredient. Different varieties of cherry flower trees have varying qualities. You may want to preserve Kanzan Sakura blossoms for a deep flavor.
Yaesakura flowers have a deep hue ideal for imparting color to the dishes. Somei Yoshino variety gives the finest cured leaves.
Sakura mochi is served in a wrapped form in pickled cherry blossom leaf with sweet red bean paste and sticky rice. It tastes sweet with a little undertone of saltiness arising out of the sakura leaf.
What does Sakura Tea Taste Like
Sakura blossoms preserved in salt and plum vinegar have a deep flavor. You can use these as a pleasant replacement for your regular tea. Tea offers the utmost way to relish this flavor. Hot water used for the tea brings out a subtle bitterness. The subtle, sweet, salty, sour, and flowery tea creates a burst of flavor.
You can prepare sakura tea without much effort. It unleashes a refined yet pleasant touch of spring on your taste buds.
The Sakura-Yu tea uses cured sakura blossom to make herbal tea. To wash away some saltiness, you should soak 1-2 flowers in warm water. Take them out and put them in another cup without discarding the water. Pour hot water into the cup. Adjust the flavor and saltiness using the water in the first cup.
Cured sweetened Sakura can also make good herbal tea. You need to take 1-2 blossoms in a cup and pour hot water. Enjoy the tea after the flavor and color soak into the water.
Sakura sencha makes another variety of tea that uses Sakura. It makes use of cured Sakura mixed with green tea.
Sakura, or the Japanese cherry blossom, produces edible flowers with a distinct flavor. They taste a little earthy and bitter with a subtle flowery or rose flavor. The authentic flavor emerges when the blossoms get pickled with salt and plum vinegar.
Sakura flavor doesn’t resemble the flavor of cherry fruits. Instead, the cured flowers have a deep sour, salty taste. Sakura tea and Sakura flavored delicacies offer a traditional experience of Sakura flavor. The flavor has marked its place around the world with its uniqueness.