Flowers are beautiful but…have you ever eaten one? A flower’s main purpose is to be pretty in our garden but they can also add aesthetics and exotic flavours to your meals. But did you know that edible flowers can be traced back to Roman times?
Found in the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures, we know that the use of flowers as food dates to the Stone Age with archaeological evidence that early man ate flowers such as roses. Today, many restaurant chefs and innovative home cooks garnish their entrees with flower blossoms for a touch of elegance. A flower’s main purpose is to be pretty but flowers is not only beautiful in your garden, they can also add aesthetics and exotic flavours to your meals. You don’t need to be a guest from a five-star restaurant to enjoy the flavour of these eatable flowers in your own at home! How to do it?
First, you need to know which flowers are suitable for consumption. Some of the most popular eatable flowers are:
All of the flowers mentioned above are eatable but do not assume that all flowers we find in the nature are edible, some are poisonous. So, you have to make sure that you have made a positive identification of each variety you are using. To test if a flower is eatable you should follow the rule: separate-contact-cook-taste.
It is easy to grow them in the outdoor but how to grow them at home? It is easier than you think! You just have to grow your eatable flowers as you would do with normal ones but avoiding all chemical pest control. Instead, you should pick off pests manually and promote beneficial insects, accepting some pest damage as part of the organic growing experience. Remember flowers are more delicate than vegetables so it is more difficult to wash them adequately.
When the harvest time them arrives, pick your flowers when they just fully open so, preferably in the morning after the dew has dried. For pollen-heavy flowers, the first step will be removing the stamens and pistil. Then, brush any excess of pollen from the petals, cut away the green parts and cut off the petals. For other flowers simply snip or pull off the petals, ensuring the white or non-coloured portion is removed, because this will be bitter.
Ok, so you’ve got your flowers and you’re now thinking: which uses can I give to these eatable flowers? Well, there are several options: salads, garnishes, rice-paper rolls, cake decorating, freezing ice-cubes, crepes, jams, tarts, desserts, teas…the possibilities are endless! Just use your imagination 😉 If you’re really out of idea, why not giving a try to these recipes.
And guess what? Eatable flowers have health benefits too! They contain vitamins of group A and B, beta-carotene, lycopene (helps prevent cancer and keep your hearth healthy) and components such as polyphenols (antioxidant properties) or phytochemicals (protective health benefits). Moreover, roses and dandelions are rich in antioxidants and violets have iron.
As you can see, edible flowers are not difficult to grow, they will give you an original touch to your dishes and they can also report you some benefits. In the world of edible flowers, you should bear in mind the following tips:
If you follow all these tips you will become a master of edible flowers. Let the power of flowers work on you! Do you dare to add a touch of colour to your recipes? 😉
Thompson & Morgan. Edible Flowers Guide. https://www.thompson-morgan.com/edible-flowers
Rodales Organic Life. 7 Common Backyard Weeds That Are Actually Medicinal Herbs In Disguise. https://goo.gl/SXG237
Royal Horticultural Society. Edible Flowers. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=764