When it comes to a meal, flowers are typically used as a centerpiece to make the table more inviting. With edible flowers, you can use these pretty plants to add color and even flavor to the meals you’re eating at these delicately adorned tables. Edible flowers are are a big deal in designer cocktail trends right now, and some are making a place for themselves in delicious desserts.
Edible flowers transform a typical glass of champagne into an enchanting cocktail and can make a simple slice of low-fat cheesecake look like a culinary masterpiece.
A few edible flower varieties are listed below, along with a few ideas for using them in recipes.
Wild Hibiscus: This flower has a slightly acidic taste, that can make a big impact. Just place an edible hibiscus flower at the bottom of a glass of your favorite sparkling wine and watch the bubbles blossom before your eyes. Gently tread into using edible flowers with Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup, an all-natural product preserved in a syrup of cane sugar and spring water with a flavor resembling that of raspberry and rhubarb.
Carnations: Not just a bouquet filler, these petals have a surprisingly sweet taste, carnations can be used to make candy, as a cake decoration or steeped in wine for a colorful, sweet cocktail. Trim petals away at the flower’s white base, as this part tastes bitter. You can also add carnation petals to salads for a burst of seasonal color.
Calendula: More commonly known as marigolds, these tiny flowers have a wonderful flavor that ranges from spicy to bitter, peppery to tangy. This “Poor Man’s Saffron” has a sharp taste that complements soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads.
Day Lilies: Mildly sweet with a slight vegetable flavor, day lilies taste like a cross between sweet lettuce and melon, and have a chewy texture. These easily dress up salad platters or a simple frosted cake. Use caution when cooking with them: many lilies contain alkaloids that aren’t edible, so be sure to have your botanist or farmer confirm the safety of the variety you’re purchasing. (Also, lilies are toxic to cats.)
It’s important to remember that not all flowers are edible. Here are a few other tips to follow before cooking with flowers:
- Confirm that pesticides and chemicals were not used on the plant that produces blossoms you plan to eat.
- Do not harvest wild flowers, for instance those on the side of the road.
- Be sure to only eat edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers.
- Use flowers sparingly in your recipes. Overindulgence can lead to digestive complications.
By Maris Callahan for DietsInReview.com