Flowers have a new (old) purpose anymore. It’s not uncommon to see flower petals used in salads, teas, and as garnish for desserts. But how about adding chive blossoms in your homemade breads or deep-frying stuffed squash blossoms. Edible flowers add color and goodness to everything.
One very important thing that you need to remember is that not every flower is edible. Research first. Then the flowers you are going to eat – you should grow – from seed. The problem with eating, say, pansies from a commercial nursery is that, those flowers were grown with pesticides and fertilizers to give you PRETTY flowers not EDIBLE flowers. The best choice is to buy organic edible flowers and there are many different companies that specialize in such things. Check the internet.
The Cardinal Rule of Edible Flowers is eat only the petals. OK, that said here are a few edibles ….
Pansies are a favorite as they come in so many different colors, both single and combinations. When eating pansies, you can break the cardinal rule and just pop the whole thing into your mouth. They have a mild wintergreen flavor. And they make beautiful additions to any food. For instance, to make simple elegant hors d’oeuvres just spread a soft (like brie) cheese on a plain cracker and top it with a whole pansy. They are perfect for candying and decorating cakes or cookies. You can use them in drinks, soups, salads, breads, and pancakes!
Calendulas, also known as pot marigold, used to be called poor man’s saffron. The yellow or orange petals can be used like saffron, but to get the effect, you need to chop them and cook them with oil to bring out the color and flavor. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads. Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs. With this flower, follow the cardinal rule - Only the petals are edible.
Dianthus (mini-carnations) can be steeped in wine, candied, or used with cakes and cookies. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. They have a light clove-like or nutmeg scent and a sweet flavor. Use the petals add color and taste to salads or cakes or breads.
Nasturtiums bright colors come with a peppery flavor. Stuff whole flowers with a savory cheese mixture. Leaves add peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for capers. Use entire flowers for salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, spring rolls, and savory appetizers.
Squash Blossoms, a beautiful, dainty flowers offers the gentle flavor of the squash. While it tastes great on its own, try stuffed with ricotta, batter and fry – yum! From soups to fritters to muffins, you can add squash blossoms to just about anything.