Looking for an edible flowers list to add something new, exciting, colorful, flavorful and even healthy for your meal? While picking your veggies, your pick some flowers too! For ages cooks have used flowers in cooking, mostly as a garnish or decoration. But in recent years, more folks are discovering the appeal of the colors and flavors of flowers, and are using them as ingredients. In this article we hope to introduce you to how (and why) to use your own flowers.
First Some Precautions
As with most things, however, a few precautions are in order. Be sure to avoid flowers grown by roadsides, where vehicle exhaust and residues collect on the flowers, or those sprayed with pesticides. While some flowers are toxic, such as foxglove, potato and sweet pea, others simply don't taste good. Also, you should first try a small amount to check for any allergic reactions or digestive problems. As a rule, the most fragrant flowers are the best tasting; but also the more fragrant a flower is, the stronger its flavor. And usually only the colorful parts of the flower petals are used, as other plant parts don't taste as good, particularly the white base of petals.
The Benefits of Edible Flowers
Before we get into the full edible flowers list below, I want to touch on the nutritional value so you can understand this isn't just a frilly or trendy thing to do. It's good for you, too.
For example chives, signet marigolds, nasturtiums, portulacas, purslanes and roses are rich in Vitamin C; edible weeds such as dandelion flowers provide Vitamins A and C and the greens are high in calcium, iron and phosphorous. And don't throw away those broccoli and cauliflower blooms that you let go too long in the garden! They have many of the same cruciferous benefits as the vegetables.
How to Harvest and Use Edible Flowers
Pick flowers first thing in the morning after the dew has dried and just as they are beginning to open for peak flavor. Here is a general list of edible flower uses:
- In or on biscuits or muffins
- To flavor butter
- With pancakes
- Infusing oils
- With pasta
- Flavoring vinegars
- In punch or tea
- In soups
- Atop salads
- Within sandwiches
And a few more unique ideas:
- Squash, zucchini, hibiscus and daylily blooms may be battered and fried, or stuffed and used as "cups" to hold tuna or egg salad.
- Roses used to line a cake pan impart a wonderful flavor to cakes!
- Nasturtium buds may be picked as a substitute for capers and the blooms can be stuffed with herbed cream cheese for excellent hors d'oeuvres.
- Try freezing some flowers in ice cubes to flavor your beverages.
- Pansies, violets and dianthus are beautiful when candied and used to decorate cakes.
- Use your imagination - the sky is the limit!