Now that I am planting my garden here in the lovely VA, I am looking into new uses for all of the plants that go into my yard. Thankfully I am starting from scratch so that makes the job a bit easier. I found this article online on Treehugger and am so excited to read more about edible flowers and all of the different things I can make. My top five favorite ideas are included below. Watch out kitchen, here I come!
– Jayme M. Carleton, Second Nature
Making Sustainability Second Nature™
The culinary use of flowers dates back thousands of years to the Chinese, Greek and Romans. Many cultures use flowers in their traditional cooking — think of squash blossoms in Italian food and rose petals in Indian food. Adding flowers to your food can be a nice way to add color, flavor and a little whimsy. Some are spicy, and some herbacious, while others are floral and fragrant. The range is surprising.
It’s not uncommon to see flower petals used in salads, teas, and as garnish for desserts, but they inspire creative uses as well — roll spicy ones (like chive blossoms) into handmade pasta dough, incorporate floral ones into homemade ice cream, pickle flower buds (like nasturtium) to make ersatz capers, use them to make a floral simple syrup for use in lemonade or cocktails.
- Eat flowers you know to be consumable.
- Eat flowers you have grown yourself, or know to be safe for consumption.
- Do not eat roadside flowers or those picked in public parks.
- Eat only the petals, and remove pistils and stamens before eating.
- If you suffer from allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually, as they may exacerbate allergies.
- To keep flowers fresh, place them on moist paper towels and refrigerate in an airtight container. Some will last up to 10 days this way. Ice water can revitalize limp flowers.
Jayme’s five favorite flowers to eat:
All blossoms from the allium family (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives) are edible and flavorful! Flavors run the gamut from delicate leek to robust garlic. Every part of these plants is edible.
Blossoms are small with dark centers and with a peppery flavor much like the leaves. They range in color from white to yellow with dark purple streaks.
Blossoms come in a variety of colors, from white to pink to lavender; flavor is similar to the leaves, but milder.
4. Calendula / marigold
A great flower for eating, calendula blossoms are peppery, tangy, and spicy — and their vibrant golden color adds dash to any dish.
5. Carnations / dianthus
Petals are sweet, once trimmed away from the base. The blossoms taste like their sweet, perfumed aroma.