As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But what do May showers bring? Well even more flowers of course! Since summer is practically here and everything is in full bloom, I thought it would be fun to dedicate a whole week on the blog to flowers!
First up, is a post all about edible flowers. You’ve probably seen floral garnishes at fancy restaurants, but did you know that many of the flowers growing in your yard may also be edible? With just a little foraging you’re likely to find a variety of edible flowers suitable for all kinds of dishes ranging from sweet to savory, and everything in between.
The idea of edible flowers has been on my mind for years, and after a little research I was amazed at the number of everyday plants that produce flowers or petals that are consumable. Vegetables, herbs, fruits, and every day plants are all great sources for edible flowers.
Today I’m sharing some of my favorite edible flowers with you. Here are my top 10 favorite edible flowers and suggested ways to use them. Be sure to check back throughout the week because I’ll have lots of flower-related posts to share with you!
TOP 10 EDIBLE FLOWERS
MARIGOLDS- Marigolds are a great edible flower, and probably one that your have growing right in your front yard! The petals can be used in place of saffron and make for a great addition to many savory dishes.
SQUASH BLOSSOMS- Squash blossoms have become a popular item in contemporary American cuisine. Most of the time squash blossoms are served stuffed with something, like goat cheese, and are lightly fried to a perfect crisp. Once available only at specialty markets, squash blossoms can now be found at many local farmer’s markets!
ROSES- Roses are one of the more popular varieties of edible flowers and are used frequently in making rose water, rose jam, and as a garnish for baked goods. The petals are mildly sweet and have a strong, perfumy floral aroma. Most varieties of roses are edible, and even rose hips have many uses in the kitchen.
PANSIES- Colorful and mild in flavor, pansies make an elegant garnish perfect for cakes, pies, and other baked goods. They are also ideal for crystallizing, a process that coats the flower in sugar, preserving the beautiful colors while making them taste sweet like candy.
HIBISCUS- Sweet and fragrant, hibiscus flowers are a great way to add a touch of the tropics to your cooking. Hibiscus paired with fresh berries makes for a delicious fruity syrup that can be used to flavor frostings, drinks, and salad dressings.
LAVENDER- This is one of the most useful and versatile of the edible flowers. Lavender’s mild, floral fragrance and taste makes it an ideal addition to a number of sweet and savory dishes. It’s great in sorbets, flavored butters, and as a garnish on baked goods. (If the stars align and things go according to plan, I’ll have a lavender recipe for you later this week!)
GARLIC BLOSSOMS- Similar to garlic in flavor, but a tad milder, garlic blossoms make great additions to salads. Their white or pink blossoms make for a pretty garnish that tastes great too!
CLOVER- Clover blossoms have a sweet liquorice flavor that makes them ideal for teas and herbal remedies. Young blossoms are best because clover can develop a bitter taste when the flowers are more mature.
DANDELIONS- Dandelions are best when the flowers are fresh and small (or even as buds just about to bloom). Dandelions can be eaten alone, made into tea, or sprinkled onto rice dishes as a garnish.
SORREL FLOWERS- Sorrel flowers are known to have a lemon like flavor- tart and tangy. They can be used in dishes where a little spritz of lemon is needed such as sprinkled over pasta, in salad dressings, or even as a garnish on baked goods. I’m growing red sorrel in my garden this year and can’t wait to try out the blossoms later in the season!
These flowers, and many more, are great ways to add some foraged flavor to your cooking! There are however, many flowers that are toxic to humans if consumed. This post is solely my opinion and not meant to be a guide for consuming wild plants. All flowers used for cooking should be carefully identified, and only plants that are free of pesticides, herbicides or other chemical sprays should be ingested.
For more information about which plants are TOXIC if consumed, please visit this site as a helpful reference: http://www.1stinflowers.com/articles/poisonous-plants-for-children.html