by Cheryl Soldati Clark
With careful ID, flowers can add some color & flavor to your palate! These attractive blooms do not have to take a backseat when it comes to fun & delicious dishes. In fact, traditionally, flavorful flowers have been used in many cuisines worldwide dating back as far as the Victorian era.
You can add flowers (i.e. fruit, herb or vegetable flowers) to a salad, candy them for desserts, stuff them, add them to a stir-fry or fry them in a batter. You can also use flowers to make teas, wines, jams, jellies, butters, marinades, vinegars, etc. Your possibilities are endless and your floral dishes will be sure to start up the conversation with your dinner guests!
Many edible flowers will grow happily from seed, not only in your garden but also in containers. Before planting, make sure to check with your local Poison Control Center to ensure that the variety that you have chosen is non-toxic. Consult your local garden center for suggestions on soil enrichment and plant foods that are specific to growing food that you plan to consume. Your very own compost pile would be an excellent source of soil amendments for your edible flowers! Make sure to give your flowers plenty of water and if pests are a problem, ladybugs are a great/safe solution to your insect woes. As your seeds begin to germinate, don’t forget to enjoy the beauty of the edible garden that you have created!
When harvesting your flowers, removing the pistil and stamen is highly recommended due to the fact that pollen can change the flavor of the flower and may cause allergic reactions. Flowers should be picked at their peak to ensure maximum flavor and preferably in the coolest part of the day after the morning dew has evaporated. Many short-stem varieties will need to be used within hours of harvest but can be stored in between damp paper towels in your refrigerator in the meantime. Long-stem varieties can be placed in water to extend their freshness and stored in the refrigerator as well.
Be sure to invite friends and family to be a part of your creative and fun floral recipes!
Here are some guidelines for choosing edible flowers:
* Never eat flowers that may have been exposed to pesticides or any other chemicals. (i.e. flowers from garden centers, florists, roadsides, etc.)
* Many flowers are poisonous! Only eat flowers that you have carefully identified as a safe edible flower. (Note: Not all parts of edible flowers are edible!)
* Eat flowers in moderation as some may cause digestive issues if eaten in large quantities.
Below are some fun & informative edible flower links: