On my last trip to the Asian market, I picked up this little plastic jar. What in the world was cassia flower jam, I wondered.
It turns out that cassia flower jam, which I assumed was made from cassia flowers (i.e. the flowers of the tree whose bark also gives us one type of cinnamon) is actually from an Asian tree called the tea olive, or Osmanthus fragrans. This is an evergreen tree that is also a popular shrub in China and throughout Asia.
Osmanthus flowers are extremely beautiful, and also very fragrant. The flowers can be made into this jam or jelly, and they are also steeped with tea leaves to create a fragrant brew.
The jam smells quite sweet and floral, rather like honey. The taste is also very sweet, and a little salty. It has a deep muskiness that I can't quite decide if I like or not.
What about you? Have you ever tried cassia flower jam? What do you do with it?
(Images: Faith Durand)