Subtle sweetness with the tiniest hint of earth; jasmine is an exotic addition to a culinary experience.
Pink and white jasmine (not to be confused with star jasmine which is much less fragrant) are two of my favorite scents in the flower world. These are also the typical flowers used in the culinary world. My first introduction to jasmine in a food was as a traditional jasmine tea, which when prepared as the real deal is a subtle and delightful experience. My next introduction to culinary jasmine was in a shortbread cookie... oh yes, there is something about the subtle sweet flavor of flowers mixed with the buttery crispness of shortbread. In the world of molecular gastronomy jasmine has the same molecular structure as pork, so it is a suggested pairing and there is also a comparable molecular structure to ginger, so apparently ginger and jasmine compliment well. Molecular gastronomy is based on the idea that foods with similar molecular structure will create “food harmony” for your palate. An interesting endeavor, however, I fear it has turned many a kitchen into a chemistry lab rather than a place of nourishment and lovingly prepared offerings...but I digress.
Jasmine is an edible flower that can be enjoyed raw, infused for the subtle flavor, or added straight to both savory and sweet dishes. If you haven’t tried incorporating edible flowers into your culinary repertoire, I highly recommend it.
In the case of the lovely jasmine, it is not only a subtle and exotic addition it also has its own arsenal of health properties.
From an aromatherapy perspective jasmine noted for being antidepressant and aphrodisiac. It also can have a sedative effect for people suffering from anxiety. Jasmine is also antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic, so it makes a great intervention for skin issues including as a wound cleaner. Research demonstrates its germicidal properties act as an inhibitor for tetanus. When inhaled it can aid in the healing of respiratory infections and helps with coughs from cold and flu. The essential oil of jasmine can help reduce scarring and can help clear up eczema and psoriasis. Jasmine is also a wonderful intervention for hormonal balance, regulating symptoms of PMS and other issues created by imbalance or stress. Who knew that lovely, unassuming little white flower had so much power?!?!