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Requested Recipe:


"Are the blooms edible from mimosa trees? If so, would you happen to have any good wine recipes?" Lance McLemore, location unknown


According to Wikipeadia, "Mimosa is a genus of 400 to 450 species of herbs and shrubs, in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the legume family Fabaceae. The most curious plant in the genus is Mimosa pudica because of the way it folds its leaves when touched or exposed to heat; many others also fold their leaves in the evening. It is native to southern Mexico, Central and South America but is widely cultivated elsewhere for its curiosity value, both as an indoor plant in temperate areas, and outdoors in the tropics. Outdoor cultivation has led to weedy invasion in some areas, notably Hawaii." It has naturalized throughout much of the eastern half of the United States. It's popular name is "sensitize plant" or "sensitive tree."

The two "false mimosa" species most often still called mimosa are the (Albizia julibrissin (the infamous "Silk Tree") and Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle), the first native to Asia, from Iran to China, and the second native to Eurasia, from Italy up into Russia.

<i>Mimosa pudica</i> flowersblank spaceBicolor variety of mimosa

Mimosa pudica flowers (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) blank spaceVariety of bicolored mimosa

The various species range in growth from mature trees averaging 15-25 feet in height (Mimosa scabrella can achieve 45 feet in height in only 3 years) with 25-35 feet in spread and often with a flattened crown, to 3-inch high ground covers that can spread over a considerable area relative to their height. The trees are low branching with open, spreading foliage with delicate, fern-like leaves that in most species close when touched. The pink, silky flowers are globular, pompom-like, very fragrant, and attractants of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Its light, dappled shade and tropical effect make it popular as a deck or patio tree. It can withstand drought and strong winds and grows well in the American South. The flowers vary from light pink or mauve to strongly pigmented hues of the same colors or close variants. Some are bicolor and some are yellow. Some species, especially M. pigra and M. nuttallii, have recurved thorns and thus are avoided by herbivores that might otherwise control them; other species are prickly rather than thorny, but both types repulse grazing animals and are therefore become a noxious, invasive weed outside their natural range. Inasmuch as over 3,000 plants have been labeled as mimosas and only some 400 -450 species truly are, there is much confusion among the common populace almost everywhere outside their natural habitat as to which plants genuinely are and which are not true mimosas. However, almost every botanical garden sports specimens of true mimosa and it is found in most plant guides.

yellow mimosa flowersblank spaceanother bicolor spray of flowers

A yellow-flowered variety (species unknown)blank spaceAnother bicolored variety (species unknown)

Its leaves and flowers are used for tea. The flowers can be cooked as a vegetable. While I have never seen a recipe for mimosa wine, I have developed one that makes a very nice, light wine that is best served chilled. The recipe makes a 10-11% alcohol wine -- any stronger and you may have a balance problem. The delicate flavor of the flower is not immediate in the dry wine, but a little sweetening after the wine is stabilized and still draws the flavor out. I sweetened it to specific gravity 1.006, which is still technically a dry (or off-dry, if you will) wine and found it most satisfying. This is a white wine.

Mimosa Flower Wine

Wash the flowers and put in nylon straining bag with a dozen marbles for weight, tie bag, and place in primary. Heat 1 quart water and dissolve sugar. Cool with frozen grape juice concentrate and remaining water and add to primary. Add remaining ingredients except yeast and stir well. Cover primary and wait 10-12 hours before adding activated yeast. Recover primary, move to a warm place and stir daily. When specific gravity drops to 1.015 or below, drip-drain bag and transfer wine to secondary. Affix airlock and move to cooler (but not cold) place. Rack after 30 days and again after another 30 days, topping up and refitting airlock each time. If fermentation has finished, wine should be clear or begin to clear, although pollen will continue to settle for another 2-3 months. Rack again 90 days after wine has cleared, top up and reattach airlock. Set aside another 90 days to bulk age. Stabilize, sweeten to taste (excellent at 1.010) and rack into bottles. May taste after 6 months in bottle. [Author's own recipe]

My thanks to Lance McLemore for requesting this recipe.

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This page was updated June 28th, 2008

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