Friday, May 16, 2014

Wisteria vinegar

Playing with flowers. They smelled very strong and lovely, but I did not have many, and it was either sugar or vinegar, for catching that scent. I used a good white wine vinegar for the infusion; if you used terrible vinegar nothing good will come of it.

I'll be experimenting more with vinegars in the coming months:

I am looking forward to a package from California. A 'mother' is being mailed to me, once their terrible fire-hot temperatures cool off, or the mother might die en route. The sender is Pascal, of Pascal-and-Mia, the talented forager-wild food-innovator couple whose work near LA sets the bar very high.

(Here is their class schedule if you are in the LA area. I can't recommend them highly enough.)

When the Frenchman heard that fruit flies created the vinegar mother in question his eyebrows went very oh-la-la... He might meet it at the door with baseball bat or a can of DEET.

If I find more wisteria flowers in heavy scent I'll cover them in sugar, to infuse. But this was yesterday's game. I'll strain it in a few days. It might be best drunk in a newly popular shrub, a drink whose time has come (again).

The flowers themselves are edible and crunchy, and have a distinct flavour. The seeds, of course, are poisonous.

Wisteria was one of the few plants I was warned about as a child. I loved to play with the velvety pods that appeared on the giant wisteria hanging over the big wooden doors in the high white wall that separated the garden in which I grew up, from the street. In spring the bunches dripped like pale fragrant grapes.

Good bye to all that. But then it comes back, in an unexpected drift of air, in a green forest, in a land very far away.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading your experiments with vinegars.

  2. With mimosa, wisteria was my favorite smell as a child. We had plenty of both. I haven't smelled wisteria in years. Didn't know the flowers were edible ( or their seed poisonous). Then again give me roses. Ok we had so many flowers around us in our youth and i'm a sucker for them all. Antibes, ville des sports, ville des fleurs.

    1. You could grow both in Beloeil - hardy up there and you've plenty of sun....

  3. this sounds really great! it made me think of this lilac jelly recipe from here:

  4. I grew up with that fragrance as well - our house in Germany in draped in wisterias, which my parents are forever worrying will damage the structure of the building. I had no idea the flowers were edible; I assumed they were poisonous like the seeds. Here I have to contend with the wisterias in some neighbors' yards, but at least there are some.


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