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Native American tribes in the South, such as the Seminole and Tequesta, added magnolia leaves and flowers to their food, a practice adopted by European colonists. Flower infusions are particularly useful for marinades, sauces, and dressings.
- Fresh-picked magnolia flowers and buds
- White wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or other light vinegar
- Pick magnolia flowers and buds just as they open, and then tightly pack a glass pint jar with them.
- Warm vinegar to just above room temperature.
- Add enough vinegar to the jar to cover flowers, and then seal with a plastic lid. Don’t use a metal lid because the vinegar will facilitate rust.
- Steep out of direct sunlight at room temperature for 2 to 4 weeks, shaking often.
- Strain flowers out and enjoy over salad, fish, vegetables, or fruit salad.
Dawn Combs, M.A. ethnobotanist, is co-owner of the award-winning family herb farm Mockingbird Meadows and formulator of its Soda Pharm syrups. She’s the author of Sweet Remedies, Conceiving Healthy Babies, and Heal Local.