Summer Is Coming and What Better Time Than Now to Expand Your Edible Flower Education?
Aside from being beautiful, many flowers are also edible. And just as every flower is unique in size, color and smell, flowers also boast an assortment of flavors. That being said, flowers open up endless culinary avenues for adding taste, texture and colorful aesthetic appeal to both classic dishes and unconventional fare…
Here is my breakdown on everything you need to know about safely incorporating flowers to be used in culinary dishes, desserts, cocktails etc:
Where To Find Edible Flowers:
Local Farmer’s Market: Make sure the flowers are marked edible or have a food crop label and were not sprayed with pesticides. Ask the vendor if they are pesticide-free and let them know how you plan on using them.
*TIP* Keep in mind that not all flowers are edible and some are toxic to our bodies. Invest in a good reference book with pictures of edible flowers so you can better identify them yourself. I purchased this book. You can also refer to Cornell’s online plant database here.
Garden: Grow your own! Be sure to use organic pest-control methods! (The best time to pick edible flowers is in the morning.)
Supermarket: Found in the produce section. I purchased an assorted pack from Whole Foods for $2.99 seen here:
How To Prepare Edible Flowers:
Shake the flowers to remove any bugs or dirt.
Wash the flowers in a strainer.
Drain flowers and allow to dry on a paper towel away from any sunlight.
Refresh flowers by placing them in cold water for a few seconds.
Preserve the whole flower in a glass of water and keep in the refrigerator overnight.
Separate the petals from the rest of the flower and eat only the petals (for most flowers).
For sweeter tasting flowers: violets, elderflower, dandelion, day lilies, lavender, impatiens, rose, honeysuckle.
For sour tasting flowers: hibiscus, chrysanthemums, fuchsia, lilac.
Mild to no taste: gladiolas, borage, johnny-jump-ups, pansy, peony, primrose.
*TIP* Incorporate flowers gradually into your diet (one flower species at a time) to prevent possible digestive problems. Your body will soon become acclimated with the new food. If you have allergies, be extra cautious.
With such a diverse flavor palate, flowers can be incorporated into or decorated on top of your favorite dish or you can master a new flower recipe and entertain some guests! Flower-infused vinegar’s, vodkas, sugars, frosting’s, jellies and jams, ice creams…the possibilities are great!
Stay tuned for some delicious flower recipes on the blog…
In the meantime, share some of your favorite flower recipes below!