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Not Just Fragrant

It’s that time of year again, when our Jasmine blooms profusely.  They perfume the garden in the evening and early morning.  I line them up on the pool deck where they can get full sun and are easy for me to collect the flowers.  The Jasmine “Maid of Orleans” (Jasminum sambac) are the ones that bloom before any other jasmines I grow.  They bloom throughout the year but only sporadically when we keep them inside.  I don’t blame them since they only get to enjoy outside sunshine and heat for a few months out of the year.  But they are nice enough to produce flowers even when they are cooped up in our basement under artificial sunlight.

It’s a Zen moment when picking jasmine flowers.  The fragrance calms your nerves; take a full breath of jasmine and let it out slowly while picking them.  Enlightenment is within reach.  On working days, I’m ready to face a crowded commute to the city again thanks in part to Jasmine and its wonderful effects on me.

Anyway, jasmine is not just good for it’s fragrance.  You can use the flowers as an air freshener, offered as a garland, used in cooking or infused in drinking water and tea.  I float fresh jasmine flowers in water to give the water a wonderful scent that is very soothing and cooling in summer.  I mix the dry ones in tea to make jasmine tea from the mix.

Just keep in mind that you should use only the Maid of Orleans (Jasminum sambac) which may be sold in other names, like Arabian Tea Jasmine, for instance.  This is the only one I know of that can be used in food.  You should also make sure that the flowers weren’t sprayed with pesticide.  You don’t want that in your tea.  Growing jasmine is easy and you’re better off growing your own if you want to consume it too.

They flower profusely in summer.

Beauty up close

A full bowl of fresh picked jasmine

Giving a lift to water in a glass our friend Kim gave us