Edible flowers are a perfect way to liven up your meals this spring and summer. Learn the dos and don’ts of edible flowers and how to incorporate them into salads and more!
I think maybe I need to cleanse my palate after that grilled sausage. Looking back on the past week or so I was shocked to see that it’s been sort of a mad blur of sweets, alcohol, fried foods and sausage. Yikes.
I’m pretty much retreating to the opposite end of the eating spectrum today.
It turns out that there are a lot more edible flowers than the few you probably already know about, (see the list at the end of the post.) I’ve occasionally seen nasturtiums in salads, and violets and rose petals on cupcakes, but did you know that you can also eat geraniums, impatiens, fuchsias, and peonies? I had no idea. But it really shouldn’t come as such a surprise, I mean, why should the edible parts of plants be limited to just the leaves, berries, seeds and fruits?
You can use clean flowers right from the garden, just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. If you have to you can gently wash your blossoms, and then dry them on a paper towel. Pick them as close to when you want to use them as possible, or store them on top of a damp paper towel in a plastic or glass container in the refrigerator.
These dianthus are a small member of the carnation family. All carnations are edible, but these are really common, come in tons of colors and stripes, and are a perfect small size for garnishing food.
I know what you’re thinking, and I agree, I have no interest in chowing down on a big bowl of hollyhocks, but think of the more subtle possibilities…scatter a few crimson geraniums across your next salad, top a bowl of carrot soup with a bright yellow nasturtium, or decorate a cheese plate with violets or pansies. You, or someone you know, probably has a lot of these flowers right in their backyard, and if you don’t have a yard you can plant a container with a variety of edible flowers and clip them as needed all season long. I was shocked that even now, in mid summer, there are lots of in season edible blossoms.
I made a simple salad, and what goes into it is up to you. I started with a base of watercress, and then layered on some pea shoots, fresh raw peas, tiny cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, a few sprigs of dill, and then my blossoms. If you are going to decorate a salad with flowers, toss the salad with the dressing before you scatter on the flowers so they will stay fresh looking. You can use the whole flowers or just the loose petals. Marigold petals are great for scattering.
I used deep red, shocking pink, and variegated purple geraniums, golden nasturtiums, bright yellow and russet marigolds, coral impatiens, and white dianthus. For my dressing I whisked together sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a grating of fresh ginger.
I’m not going to claim that edible flowers are the most wildly delicious things in the world, but they’re pleasant. Some have a citrusy taste, others are mildly spicy. But for me the biggest reason to use them is that they are so colorful and pretty, and they add an element of excitement to food.
* Here’s a partial list of common edible flowers:
|Apple blossoms||Bachelor button||Bee balm||Borage|
|Shasta Daisies||Squash blossoms||Sunflowers||Violets|
More information: National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Check out Part Two of How to Eat Flowers! HERE
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