Here in the Pacific Northwest, Magnolias are a beautiful flowery reminder that Spring is near. Few know that magnolias are edible and absolutely wonderful when pickled. Pickled magnolias have a unique floral/ginger taste and can be added to salads and sandwiches and even used as a ginger substitue with sushi. Collect the young petals, just a few from each flower. The younger petals are less bitter.
1 pound of fresh Magnolia petals
1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp salt
Prepare a large bowl of iced water. Separate the petals from the flower if not already. Careful, the petals are delicate and can bruise easily. Lightly plunge into the ice water to clean them and to keep them from spoiling. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch Magnolias for 3 min. They will turn brown, but dont worry, the beautiful pink color will return when you transfer back into the ice water.
Mix vinegar and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the magnolia petals and simmer for about 5 min. Remove from heat and allow them to cool at room temperature in the brine. Transfer to sterilized jars and refrigerate. Enjoy!