Edible Flowers Make for a Tasty Meal
It has been done for centuries but only recently has it become the new fad in the culinary and
entertainment scene. Not only do you have to worry about your décor before a party but now it
seems you have to figure out what flowers you will serve with dinner! There has been very
little in finding out nutritional values of flowers, but they are mostly used for flavor and visual
appeal. Why not get more than a visual feast from your flower show? Now, anyone can eat a
flower, but not everyone can really taste it. This pallet comes from childhood, when you would
dare each other to eat a weed or chew some grass. Luckily no one was poisoned because not
every bloom can be eaten, in fact, there are a lot of poisonous plants out there. Hopefully, after
reading this, you will feel confident and knowledgeable enough to taste a bloom or two without
having to be dared. It does not take much to get creative and impress your family and friends
with this culinary treat.
The first thing to do when you decide that you want to try incorporating flowers into your cooking,
is to get a list of edible plants using the Latin botanical names, whether they are perennial or
annual. This will ensure that you are actually getting the correct plant. A lot of common names are
used for a number of different plants depending on region and country and may not be what you are
really looking for. Never eat any parts of a plant that you are not 100% sure that it is edible. There
are plants out there that have only specific parts that are edible and other parts are not. Keep to the suggestions offered and WOW people, not poison them! This is not an area that you want to "just try it and see what happens". The second thing you want to do is to make sure that your edible flowers are actually edible. What I mean by this is that if you buy your flowers at a florist or even the grocery store, chances are they have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and/or fungicides. Ask first, they may have ones especially for eating available in the summer. Once you decide where you want to get your flowers from, you then have to think about how you want to use them.
Ice cube trays are a fun starting project. First, only pick your flowers right before you want to use them. This will keep them looking their best for your presentation. If you need to buy yourself a little time you can keep your blossoms in damp paper towels and refrigerate for about a day. Always rinse (carefully, to avoid damaging the bloom) to get rid of possible dirt and/or bugs. Fill the ice cube trays half full and freeze. Once frozen, place petals or blossoms in each cube of the tray and then gently fill to top with water. Freeze and use. These look great served in punch or individual glasses with lemonade or cocktails. Candied flowers are another very easy way to dress up a dessert with little effort. Simply brush readied flowers with beaten egg whites and sprinkle with very fine granular sugar. Allow to dry and presto! Ready to garnish. If this doesn't satisfy your need to flower things up, you can always mix a combination of your favorite vegetables and blooms for a spectacular salad that everyone will want to try.
Once you are comfortable with how flowers handle in the kitchen, you can then start really experimenting with stronger and more exotic flavors of the floral world. We are sure that once you have tried it, you will fall in love with everything about it. There are many books available specifically on culinary uses for flowers with some really fantastic recipes. Whatever you choose, be safe and be knowledgeable.
Lovely Lavender Lemonade:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar (fine granular raw sugar can be used)
5 cups water
12-15 fresh lavender sprigs
2 ¼ cup lemon juices (preferably fresh)
Boil half of the water with all of the sugar until completely dissolved. Add the lavender sprigs and remove pot from heat. Cover and let steep until cool. Add remaining water and the lemon juice. Strain out lavender and serve over crushed ice in a tallboy glass. Garnish with fresh lavender blooms.
(1 oz. gin or vodka may be added for those who may be so inclined)
Allium schoenoprasum - chives
NOT TO EAT:
Aconitum napellus - Monkshood