White Almond Blossoms Make A Unique Liqueur
All over the Mediterranean and Middle East, wild almond trees in fields and along highways are becoming clouds of pink and white blossom. They’re the first to bloom at winter’s end. Although rain and dark skies may return a few more times, tentative sunshine warms our faces, and we catch the delicate flowery odor of almond blooms as we stroll under the trees. Our short winter is drawing to a close.
Almond blooms fade away quickly once they have fallen off their branches, but there is a way to preserve their sweetness: make a liqueur. If you live in Israel, it might be ready for this year’s Tu B’Shvat Seder.
First, choose only from trees that have white blossoms. Those are the trees bearing sweet almonds. Pink flowers indicate trees bearing bitter almonds, which contain prussic acid. We don’t know if bitter-almond flowers are toxic as well as the fruit, but better take no chances and stick with the white sweet-almond blooms.
1. First, collect as many white almond blossoms as you can. (Pink almond blossoms are bitter and not suitable.) Spread them out on a clean surface. Check them for insects.
2. Fill a small jar with the flowers – a clean, dry, mayonnaise jar will do – and then pour arak or vodka on top till the flowers are completely covered. Add a tablespoon of sugar and stir. Replace the lid on the jar and put it away in a dark place for two weeks. If you can’t gather a lot of blossoms at once, just cover what you have with arak and continue gathering, adding more liquor and a little sugar each time, till your jar is full.
3. After two weeks, strain your liqueur and enjoy a sip. It’s exquisite.
You can use roses or lemon geraniums flowers, or any sweet-smelling edible flowers instead of almond flowers. Mint, basil, or thyme flowers, or a mixture, are a good base – if you can get enough of them.