Ever see those gorgeous blossoms on the Magnolia tree? Ever wonder if there was anything you could do with those besides admire them? How about pickling them? Yes, the petals are edible, but they are intense. About the only way you can handle them are pickled. Once they are pickled, you only eat them one petal at a time, sliced. Here’s how. Take about 1 lb fresh young magnolia flowers that have been separated, remember, you don’t use the entire blossom. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups rice vinegar, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt. Wash and dry the petals with paper towels and put them in a sterilized jar along with the salt. Mix the rice vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture of vinegar and sugar over the Magnolia flowers then allow to cool and then screw a cap on the jar. Eat the Pickled Magnolia Flowers either when cold or as an accompaniment with salads.
Florida is absolutely covered with this nasty little weed called Florida Betony (Stachy’s floridana). This is actually a member of the mint family, as told by the square stem, the leaves which are opposite each other and the flowers which form a lip on the bottom. The thing that makes this nasty little weed so lovable, is the rattlesnake root for which it is known. Dig it up and you’ll find these tubers that look like the back end of a rattlesnake. Wash these tubers off, and crunch down and you’d swear you’re eating a mild radish. The other benefit is it’s a mild antitussive, meaning it will calm a mild cough. Not bad for a weed. Next time you’re weeding, dig some up and enjoy.