Foraging for food is all the rage these days in trendy restaurants, but what about foraging for exotic flowers plucked straight from your garden. You can’t get any fresher than that! Plan ahead for this summers’ beautiful garnishes: you can use flowers to jazz up a plain salad or accent a special cake. Flowers as a food accessory can add romance to a meal or just delightful seasonal charm to the table. You can even freeze flowers inside ice cubes for an unusual contemporary look and delicious flavour. Bright yellow calendulas, smashing oranges of nasturtiums, the brilliant blue of cornflowers, the deep red of roses all can bring our senses to life.
Special desserts including ice cream can be enhanced with the flavours from home grown roses and lavender. Remember when you eat the flower you can only eat the petals. And go easy at first if you are new to flower munching as some of them are hard to digest. Only eat flowers that you know for sure that the source is organic and free from pesticides. You can store your flowers for up to a week in a dark cool place in a vase of water if you picked them in another garden.
Here is a starter list for edible flowers:
SPICEY: nasturtium, cornflower/ bachelor buttons, carnation, calendula, chrysanthemum
SWEET: nasturtium, violets, arabian jasmine, daylily (cut away the bitter base), cornflower, squash flowers, gardenia, pansy
BITTER: sunflower (steam to improve the flavor), snapdragons, marigolds
PERFUME FLAVORED: rose, lavender
TANGY: english daisy
BLAND: impatiens, hollyhock
The following garden flowers all have a variety of tastes: bee balm tastes like earl grey tea, borage tastes like cucumbers, chamomile tastes like apples, carnations taste like nutmeg or cloves, hibiscus when boiled has a pleasant flavour, and lilac tastes like lemon.
NEVER ever ever eat azalea, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, lily of the valley, calla lily, daffodils and wisteria as these are very poisonous.
Photo by: allan*