Summer provides you with lovely flower blossoms covering a vast rainbow of colours, a good many of which are edible, offering you juicy nutritional benefits to add to your summer spread.
Edible flowers are a gorgeous way to create dynamic and healthful looking dishes that will have you salivating before you even catch a wif the the aroma they also offer. There are numerous types of flowers for you to chose from and eating the petals can have some nutrient values that may surprise you!
Most edible flowers contain vitamins and minerals.
"The borage flower, for example, can provide you with a large dose of vitamin C and iron. Pumpkin and lavender flowers contain vitamin A, while rose petals contain vitamin E. Flowers like viola contain potassium, while many, particularly those with deeper colors, contain phytonutrients (flavanoids and antioxidants), which can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other diseases."
There is such a huge range to select from, which varies depending on which part of the world you live in. Some well known edible flowers include:
hibiscus, carnations, dandelions, apple blossoms, marigold, roses, rocket/arugula, cilantro/coriander, kale flowers, chive blossoms, stock flowers, strawberry blossoms, nasturtium, viola, pineapple weed, pea flower, pansy, micro star, firestix, snapdragons, fennel blossom, garlic mustard, chamomile, chrysanthemum, fringed dianthus, calendula, garlic flowers, orchid, moringa blossoms, Mexican marigold, wild malva, peppermint-scented pelargonium, confetti bush, wild sorrel, many-petalled jasmine, squash and sunflowers.
There are may more too!
Start by selecting from flowers that may be growing in your graden or locally to where you are, and before you start eating your rose garden, here are a few tips:
- Not all flowers are edible. Be absolutely certain of your source
- Learn which flowers are in fact edible and what parts of the flower should be eaten
- Most flowers should only be eaten in small quantities
- Only eat flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides
- Be aware of potential allergies and start with a small amount.
You can also buy edible flowers at your local farmers market, where you can ask the vendor which edible flowers are safe for you to eat. Wash the flower petals gently and let them dry before serving. They can be kept in the fridge for up to a week on moist paper towels in an airtight container.
Taste characteristics of flower blossoms
- Pot marigolds (calendula) have a slightly peppery flavor and add a pleasing golden yellow color. Add to salads, raw rice recipes or soups.
- Nasturtiums also have a peppery flavor and are most frequently used in salads.
- Pansies and geraniums add a mint-like flavor to salads, chilled soups or desserts.
- Lilacs have a lemony flavor and go well on salads or desserts.
- Roses have a mild sweet flavor and are often used in jellies or syrups, but can also be used to decorate cakes and other desserts.
- Tuberous Begonias have a slightly tart citrus flavor. Their crunchy texture makes them a good addition to salads.
- Squash Blossoms are probably the most frequently eaten edible flowers. You can use them served fresh in salads. Their flavor is quite mild and often similar to the type of squash they would have grown into.
Try making Candied Petals
Collect about 12 of your desired petals (violets, roses, pansies, honeysuckle, cherry, carnations blossoms etc). Gently wash and dry the petals on a paper towel.
In a glass bowl, make a syrup to coat your blossoms. Place 1/4 tsp of your favourite spice, 1 tsp rose water and 2-3 drops of liquid stevia, 1/2 tsp organic cornstarch and combine (add a little more liquid if necessary.
This takes time - using food tweezer and fine food paint brush, paint the mixture onto your blossoms. Place each petal onto grease proof paper and store in a dry place over night to dry (you could also dehydrate them). Store in a air tight container. Use to add edible decoration to your favourite raw chocolate or cheese cake recipes...
Sources and Research:
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