Foraged Recipes

Mimosa flower ice cream (Albizia julibrissin)

Mimosa flower ice cream (Albizia julibrissin) thumbnail
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Turn flowers from invasive mimosa trees into ice cream!

In the United States, mimosa trees aka Persian silk trees (Albizia julibrissin) are best known as fast-growing, fast-spreading invasive trees. That doesn’t mean the species is without its benefits though…

As we discuss in our favorite edible flower guide, mimosa’s delightfully fragrant flowers (which pollinators love) can be used for both culinary and medicinal purposes by humans. For instance, in Asia, various parts of the tree are used medicinally as a mood booster and anti-depressant — and there’s good clinical data to support this traditional use. 

Since mimosa flowers are in bloom around the same time as the weather starts to really heat up, we thought it would be a good idea to create a mimosa flower ice cream recipe to help beat the heat while enjoying the uniquely delicious flavor of mimosa flowers. 

What does mimosa flower ice cream taste like? 

Mimosa flower ice cream tastes like mimosa flowers smell. Truly unique and wonderful.

Mimosa flower ice cream is a perfect late spring or summer dessert!

Mimosa flower ice cream is a perfect late spring or summer dessert that tastes as good as mimosa flowers smell!

This recipe is based off of one of our all-time favorites: honeysuckle ice cream, which we’d also suggest you make. Both invasive species are usually in full bloom at the same time! 

Recipe tips and process photos 

This is a very simple recipe but there are a few key things to getting it right which we detail below: 

1. Mimosa flower harvesting tips 

Select mimosa trees that aren’t next to busy roads where the flowers might be coated with car exhaust and other contaminants. Also, avoid harvesting in areas where pesticides are used, such as under power lines. 

Only use newly opened flowers, e.g. flowers whose pink/white filaments are still outstretched. Unopened flowers or older limp flowers won’t offer the same flavor.

Remove the long green stems after you pick the flowers before you put them in your harvest bowl or basket. If you include the stems, they may impart a vegetal flavor to your ice cream.

Stems removed from fresh new mimosa flowers - these are ready to go!

Stems removed from fresh new mimosa flowers – these are ready to go!

2. Don’t rinse your flowers

Don’t rinse your flowers after harvest or you’ll remove much of their flavor. There may be some insects on the flowers that you’ll need to remove by hand – that’s par for the course if you garden or forage though.  

3. Cold-infusion for optimal flavor extraction 

As per the recipe card at the bottom of this article, you’re going to put your mimosa flowers in a glass jar in your fridge with equal parts milk and cream for 24-36 hours. Every 8 hours (or more frequently if possible), remove the jar from the fridge and give the mixture a vigorous stir to help extract the flavor from the flowers. 

For a stronger mimosa flavor, err on the side of 36 hours of cold infusion in your fridge. Yes, this is a slow recipe, but it’s worth it! 

When done, you’re going to strain the cream/milk from the mimosa flowers, being sure to squeeze the flowers firmly between your hands to extract all the liquid and flavor. Then we’d also recommend straining the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to get out any small plant bits or fines. 

Squeeze all that tasty goodness out of the flowers!

Squeeze all that tasty goodness out of the flowers!

Next, you’ll add new cream, milk, and sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat on your stovetop. Whisk to melt your sugar, then remove from heat and let cool.

Combine all the ingredients in the same jar and return to fridge to chill before putting them in your ice cream maker. Note that the flowers are never cooked or heated during the entire process so as to preserve the optimal bright flavor. 

4. Ice cream maker and freezer storage

We use our old Cuisinart ice cream maker to make this recipe, which takes about 20-30 minutes to turn the liquid dairy into ice cream. However, follow the instructions on your specific brand of ice cream maker. 

If you don’t have a home ice cream maker but you’re itching to make this recipe, you could try freezing the final mixture into ice cubes, then pulverizing the frozen cubes into an ice cream-like texture in a blender immediately prior to eating.  

If you need to store your honeysuckle ice cream for later use, we recommend using a covered 8″x4″ glass bread pan. This makes it easy to scoop out the ice cream when serving. 

Recipe: Mimosa flower ice cream

recipe: mimosa flower ice cream

Mimosa flower ice cream

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Albizia julibrissin, mimosa flower ice cream, mimosa flower recipe
Prep Time: 1 day
Servings: 8
Author: Aaron von Frank

A delicious ice cream made from fresh mimosa flowers from Albizia julibrissin trees, aka Persian silk trees.


For cold infusion of mimosa flowers:

  • 3 cups fresh de-stemmed and un-rinsed mimosa flowers (about 85 grams)
  • 1 cup organic whole milk, ideally grass-fed
  • 1 cup organic heavy cream

For melting sugar:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (alt vanilla extract)
  • 1/8 tsp salt


For extracting flavor from mimosa flowers:

  1. Combine all ingredients from first section (milk, cream, flowers) in glass jar. Stir to mix together. Cover and place in fridge for 24-36 hours, removing to stir once every 8 hours to aid flavor extraction.

  2. Remove from fridge, then strain flowers. Squeeze flowers firmly to remove all liquid. Then strain again through fine mesh strainer to remove all debris.

For melting sugar

  1. Combine all ingredients from second section (cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt) in small sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk regularly. Cook until all sugar and salt is fully dissolved, then remove from heat and let cool.

  2. Combine sweetened cream mixture with strained mimosa-cream mixture in jar. Refrigerate until cold and pour into ice cream maker when you're ready. Serve immediately.

    For storing extra mimosa flower ice cream, use a covered 8"×4″ or smaller glass baking dish, which makes scooping easy. 

We hope you enjoy turning the flowers of invasive mimosa trees into delicious ice cream! Each flower you harvest prevents a future mimosa seed from spreading, so your ice cream habit is doing the world a service.  



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