Since ancient times Jasmine has been thought of as the ‘queen of flowers’. And i believe it is very rightly crowned, as there is no fragrance sweeter than that of Jasmine. A small white, star shaped flower with a smell so sweet it entices you to have an aromatic affair with it. This magical flower has been used for centuries by many cultures world wide. The name Jasmine is derived from the Persian word ‘ Yasmin ‘, meaning ” gift of GOD “.
Ancient Asians believed that jasmine penetrated the deepest layers of the soul and opened emotions. In China, the relaxing jasmine tea has been a popular beverages for thousands of years. The root is used to treat headaches, insomnia, and pain due to dislocated joints and broken bones; it is reported to have anesthetic properties. Several Jasmin species have been used in cancer therapies. The Arabians and Indians used Jasmine medicinally, as an aphrodisiac and for ceremonial purposes. It is used in aromatherapy to treat depression and nerve conditions, and as a massage oil for cramps. Aroma-therapists find the Jasmine flower an antidepressant and relaxing herb which is said to help with dry or sensitive skin and tiredness. Jasmine has been used in Ayurveda for several thousands of years. At the time of Buddha, its oil was used for anointing kings and wealthy people of the society. It has a cooling and soothing effect. In short the Jasmin is used for various things …. an aphrodisiac, brain stimulant, calming, restoring balance and confidence, anti-depressive, soothes headaches, insomnia and psychosomatic problems, promotes feelings of optimism and increases receptivity. Need i say more !!!!
I definitely wasn’t thinking all this when i planted my jasmine shrubs. All i had on my mind was the delicate and sweet aroma, which could even bring a dead person back to life. With time they grew and blossomed and multiplied, and before i knew it i had an entire stretch of these beautiful shrubs in my garden. Every evening the whole house fills up with the magical smell of these flowers and when i bought myself my very first ice cream maker, i could not resist infusing this delicate aroma in the cream. This is my very first attempt at ice cream, and i was quite happy with the result. The recipe makes a rather rich and creamy ice cream. not too sweet and gently scented with jasmine. I shared it with a couple of friends who loved it, and one friend even called it ” Soul Cleansing “, which of course made me smile from ear to ear.
I picked these flowers at night when the aroma was most intense and infused them in the cream before making the custard. Here are the ….
4 1/2 cups cream
3/4 th cup sugar
4 handfuls of fresh jasmine flowers
8 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2-3 drops vanilla
Start a day ahead. Collect the flowers and rinse them well. Dry them well on a kitchen towel. Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan till its heated through and just about to simmer. Turn off the heat, and add the flowers to it. Let it cool to room temperature and close in an air tight container and chill in the fridge for 24 hrs. At this time u might also want to put the ice cream bowl into the freezer as well. The next day, strain the cream and remove the flowers. Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan till just about to boil. In another bowl lightly beat the egg yolks and add the vanilla, just to reduce the eggy smell. Add a bit of the hot cream+milk to the yolks mixing continuously. Transfer all the egg yolks to the milk and return to the heat, and cook stirring continuously till it thickens a bit. Turn off the gas, and let it cool completely on the table top. Do not put the hot custard in the fridge as that will make water crystals in the mixture. One cooled, transfer to the freezer for 20 mins till well chilled, and then put into the ice cream machine, ( follow the instructions of your machine ) and churn for 15-20 mins. The ice cream is ready to eat.