Archive for Jasminum sambac

Loring’s Lei

Posted in Edible Flowers with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by PickMeYard

Loring has been asking me to make a necklace out of flowers with her for quite some time.  I always promise, but don’t follow through.  Yesterday I dropped what I was doing and said, “Let’s make that lei”.

We collected a bowl full of our edible jasmine flowers.  They have a perfect little hole in them when they’re picked.  I threaded a needle for Loring and let her do the rest.  She had no trouble sewing the flowers into a necklace all by herself.

Check out the Crafting Chicks blog for an adorable lei project that can be done with straws and paper with kids.

The jasminum sambac flowers are perfect for stringing a homemade lei. This is the ‘Maid of Orleans’ variety of jasmine.

Loring is sewing her lei and singing gleefully.  Although, she was really concentrating when I took the photo.

Loring and her homemade Lei.

Sometimes we really do need to stop and smell the flowers!

Come grow with us!

Advertisements

The Lemonade Experience

Posted in Edible Flowers, edible leaves with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by PickMeYard

We had a blast with our lemonade experience.  Since everybody has different likes and dislikes when it comes to flavors, we wanted to do a little experiment.  Grayson and a group of his friends decided to pick a bunch of different leaves and flowers from our yard and add them to homemade lemonade to see which ones tasted the best.  They gathered lemon verbena, Chinese mint, provence lavender, roses, jasmine, moujean tea leaves (Nashia inaguensis), kaffir lime leaves, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), rosemary, basil, and stevia. 

We boiled some water with brown sugar to make a sugar syrup to add as our sweetener.  Then we lined up a bunch of glasses of water with freshly juiced lemon or lime.  The kids decided which herbs and flowers to combine.   To get our flavors, we heated a little water in a pot and briefly added the herbs to make an infusion.  (The herbs would usually be left in the pot for 10 minutes with a cover to make an infusion, but we got plenty of flavor by infusing them briefly.)  We then strained the flavored water into our glasses of lemon water and sugar.  

This is a bowl of some of the flowers and leaves we used to make our flavored lemonades.

We sliced open a bourbon vanilla pod and scraped out the seeds to use in some of our homemade recipes.

We used organic brown sugar, lemons and limes in our lemonade/limeade drinks.

The kids picked some meyer lemons from the yard to see if they might make a better tasting lemonade.

Meyer lemons picked from our yard.

Almost all of the concoctions turned out tasting really great and “kid approved”.  The tasting panel consisted of two 8-year-olds,  a 13-year-old, a 10-year old and a toddler.  However, the basil lemonade did not please everybody.  One of them said it was actually “disgusting” and one said it had an unpleasant after-taste.  Grayson said he really liked it.

The moujean tea leaves, vanilla seed and Luzianne tea bag lemonade made an awesome "tea-monade".

All the kid tasters loved the Chinese mint lemonade.  It was extremely refreshing because it seemed to have more menthol than the spearmint I usually use. 

The edible jasmine and rose petals made a really unique and pleasant floral tasting lemonade.

The kids said they didn’t like the jasmine and rose petal lemonade, they loved it.  I made sure they understood that the jasmines are the edible variety (maid of Orleans and Grand Duke of Tuscany Jasminum sambac).  There are many varieties of jasmine that are poisonous.  I also explained to them that most roses are sprayed with a ton of insecticides and fungicides.  I don’t spray my roses with anything, therefore they are edible for us.

The lavender lemonade and the rosemary lemonade were nice.  The kaffir lime leaf limeade was also good. 

Some of the testers.

The lemon balm lemonade was outstanding and was the winner by a landslide.  Not a single one of us had any intestinal distress of any sort and we all slept like babies.  This was a fun time and we all want to do it again… next time with iced-tea.  

Come grow with us!

To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question

Posted in Edible Flowers with tags , , , , , on May 10, 2010 by PickMeYard

Our morning harvest of fresh picked jasmine flowers.

Whenever we talk about Jasmine in our yard, we are referring to Jasminum sambac…the edible jasmines.  There are many gorgeous varieties.  We have two of them in our garden and they are blooming profusely right now.  The more flowers we pick off them, the more the plant gives us.  So every day we pick all the flowers and bring them in the house.  The smell of jasmine floats through our house daily like a summer dream.

That's a 'Grand Duke of Tuscany' flower on the top left and two 'Maid of Orleans' flowers on the bottom.

The ‘Maid of Orleans’ variety is used to make jasmine tea.  The blooms are added to the tea to give it a light scent.  I’m thinking that a jasmine creme brulee would be the cat’s meow.

Grand Duke of Tuscany variety of jasmine

The  ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ looks like a small rose.  The petals don’t fall off this flower when it ages, they just turn brown.

'Grand Duke of Tuscany' about to bloom.

The obviously intoxicating aroma of jasmine.

Smells so good you'll want to eat it...and you can!

The edible jasmines are a lovely addition to our garden.  I’m still hunting for the ‘Mali Chat’ and ‘Mysore Mulli’ varieties.  The hunt will continue until I find them.  Isn’t the hunt part of the fun? I regularly check  TopTropicals to see what they have in stock. 

Remember that there are many varieties of jasmine that are highly poisonous.

Come grow with us!

Jasminum Sambac…The “King of Flowers”

Posted in Edible Flowers with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by PickMeYard

 

The fragrance from this flower makes me swoon from intoxication.  It smells so wonderful you might wish you could eat it…and you can.  This flower is the glorious jasmine.  It has been highly sought after and prized for many centuries.  Once you’ve held it in your hand, you will want it in your garden as well.  It blooms profusely and will even do so in filtered light.  It doesn’t mind short periods of drought and is easy to care for.  Since it is a tropical, it grows in zones 9-10.  But, if you don’t live in the tropics, don’t give up on it.  It can be grown indoors!  It would need to be kept in an area that has quite a lot of  sunlight, but not so much that it burns the plant leaves.  When the weather warms up over 50 degrees  it can be taken outside.  We had many nights here in zone 9b that were in the low 20’s this year and my jasmines are fine.  I keep some in pots and some in the ground.  They do grow great in pots.

The ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ jasmine is my favorite.  That’s a flower in the picture above.  It is very slow-growing.  I am also growing ‘Maid of Orleans’, which grows quickly and vines.  This is the variety that is used to make jasmine tea.  There are several other varieties that I have been looking for.  I know I’ll find them eventually…’Arabian Nights’, ‘Mysore Mulli’, ‘Belle of India’ and the elusive ‘Mali Chat’.

My favorite way to enjoy these beauties is to pick a few flowers and add them to a pitcher of ice water.  That’s it. Voila! Jasmine Water.  You could let it sit for 24 hours or just enjoy it immediately.  I find that these flowers don’t need to sit for long to flavor your entire pitcher with a light floral flavor.  Refreshing and yummy.  I add sugar for the kids, but I prefer mine without.  My kids ask for this everyday when it’s blooming.  Since I usually have more flowers than I know what to do with, I usually just let some float in a pretty bowl on the counter to fill the air with the scent of jasmine. 

I think we are all a little happier when the house smells like jasmine. There are endless possibilities to the culinary delights that could be created with these flowers.  A sugary syrup would be exotic and irresistable.  It can be  poured over fruits, ice cream, iced teas , rice, etc.  However, I want to add a warning here:  the jasmine that you are likely to encounter growing in parking lots and in most people’s yards is highly poisonous!  It is not Jasminum sambac, it just smells similar.

If you’re hooked now and want one too, they can be purchased through Top Tropicals plant nursery.  They have a great website that is full of information on many kinds of plants.  I’ve always had good luck with them.  Actually, now I’m going to see if that ‘Mali Chat’ is available through them.  

 Come grow with us!