Just wanted to introduce a guest blog about something you may have never even considered before: eating flowers. Please exercise caution when eating flora and discuss this with a medical professional if you have health concerns. Since some flowers are toxic, this is something not to be taken lightly. However, if you are at a restaurant and they place a flower as a garnish on your plate, I believe that everything on your plate by law has to be edible. While I am in no way advocating for flowers to be added to lunch trays across the nation, I have to wonder how the USDA would classify flowers in terms of school lunch regulations…added fiber?
— Mrs Q (Sarah)
About the Author
Patricia Hall works part-time for Serenata Flowers an online florist in UK and loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna. ‘To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers – it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways – unity of all mankind!’
In some fine dining establishments, edible flowers are sometimes used as garnish and for optimum food presentation. This can be done by the average home cook with the use of a little superfine sugar and depending on the type, possibly even your own home delivery flowers. Many flowers are toxic so this project should be done with caution. However, there are certain types of flowers which are perfectly safe for human consumption.
Chamomile- This flower has a faint apple flavor. It is typically used to make a tea.
Chrysanthemum- This flower has a slight bitter flavor and a pungent smell.
Cornflower- This flower has a sweet and spicy clove-like flavor.
English Daisy- This flower tastes leafy and tangy.
Gladiolus- This flower tastes similar to lettuce.
Fuchsia- This flower has an acidic flavor.
Gardenia- This flower has a light sweet flavor.
Impatiens- This flower has a very bland flavor.
Lilac- This flower has a lemony flavor.
Marigold- This flower has a bitter and spicy flavor.
Lavender- This flower has a slight perfume flavor.
Pansy- This flower has a mild to sweet flavor.
Rose- This flower has a sweet aromatic flavor.
Besides food presentation and garnish, another reason to cook with edible flowers is that some do provide health benefits. For instance, the Nasturtiums Tropaeolum Majus or watercress is a vibrant orange-yellow flower that has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1800s. The Incas discovered this and added these flowers to their food to relieve ailments such as chest colds, the flu, and scurvy. Today we know that watercress contains flavonoids, vitamin C, amino acids, iron, sulfur, manganese and other antiseptic agents. Because of its diuretic properties, it is also good for the kidneys and bladder.
The hibiscus flower contains high amounts of antioxidants which will help to build the immune system and fight off infection. This flower is quite frequently consumed in the form of a hibiscus tea. The subtle flavor isn’t overpowering and many actually prefer this over plain tea.
Violets can be used an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, to suppress headaches, psoriasis, and to treat urinary tract infections.
Roses are rich in polyphenols, a strong antioxidant which will reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. These flowers are also rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
Lavender petals have been used for thousands of years to treat stress as they directly benefit the central nervous system.
Day Lilies are quite often used by the Chinese to detoxify the system. They also reduce jaundice, relieve hemorrhoids, and cure insomnia.
The Lotus flower is known to be a strong antioxidant. It also has properties that allow it to protect the liver, reduce cholesterol, and work as an astringent.
Dandelions are used in Europe to treat fever, eye disease, liver problems, and skin diseases.
How to make edible candied flowers
- Edible flowers (washed and pesticide free)
- Pasteurized liquid egg whites
- Small paintbrush
- Superfine sugar
- Waxed paper
- Baking tray
- Remove the stem from the flower.
- Mix egg whites with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Hold the flower with tweezers and use the paintbrush to brush the petals with the egg white mixture.
- Generously sprinkle the flower with the superfine sugar.
- Set the flower on a tray lined with wax paper and allow to dry. Repeat this process.
- When the flower is completely dry, store it in an air-tight glass jar until you are ready to use it. It will keep for as long as one month as long as it is placed in a warm dry place.
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- 8 cups daylilies, sliced
- 2 medium sized carrots, sliced
- 4 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 cup texturized vegetable protein (TVP), soaked for 10 minutes in ¾ cup hot water, drained with soaking water reserved
- ½ cup raw cashews or peanuts
- ¾ cup drained silken tofu
- ¼ cup dark colored miso
- 2 tablespoons curry paste
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon kudzu or arrowroot
- To make the saute’, in a large pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add carrots, TVP, cashews or peanuts, and daylilies and cook for 10 minutes.
- For the sauce, combine miso, tofu, curry past, lime and arrowroot or kudzu in a blender and process until smooth.
- Pour sauce into saute’ pan and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Serve over yellow or brown rice.
Grilled Salmon with Nasturtium Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup shallots, finely minced
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill weed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¾ cup chopped nasturtium flowers
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- 8 (3 ounce) boneless salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Chives for garnish
- Preheat a broiler or grill to medium heat.
- Combine ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots, and dill weed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add chives and nasturtium flowers and stir.
- Use the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and rub all over the salmon fillets.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Broil or grill the salmon fillets approximately 3 minutes per side. Thicker fillets will need more cook time, but be sure not to overcook. This fish can easily dry out.
- Place 2 cooked salmon fillets on each plate.
- Vigorously whisk the nasturtium vinaigrette to recombine.
- Liberally spoon vinaigrette over salmon fillets and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.
The next time you have flowers to be delivered to a loved one, consider giving the gift of edible flowers. Your loved one will be delighted by your originality and good taste.