Edible Flowers

edible flowersFlowers are not just pretty to look at. People have been using flowers for culinary purposes for thousands of years, and not just as garnishes. Many flowers are actually edible, and can add interesting flavor, texture, aroma and color to foods such as salads, soups, beverages, and even ice cream. Some flowers are even quite nutritious as well. Roses, dandelions, marigolds and nasturitiums, for instance, are loaded in vitamin C. But before you start eating just any flower, it’s important to be aware of the following information.

* It is recommended that you do not consume any flower if you suffer from allergies, such as hay fever, or have asthma.

* Only eat flowers that you have grown yourself. Do not eat flowers that have been treated with pesticides. Only eat those that you have grown organically. Do not eat those you have picked from the roadside or a park, as they may have been treated with chemicals or be polluted by car exhaust.

* Only eat flowers that you are sure are consumable — consult a reference book on edible flowers to be certain. Some flowers are completely edible, and others only certain parts, so check for this information carefully.

The following is a sample of some terrific flowers that are edible and tasty, and easy to grow in your garden or window box.

* Allium — This flower family includes leeks, garlic and chives, and all the blossoms from these plants are delicious, their flavors ranging from delicate to robust.

* Angelica — These lavender-blue flowers taste like licorice.

* Bee Balm — If you want to add a minty flavor to a dish, or to your favorite tea, this flower provides it.

* Sunflower — The unopened buds taste like mild artichoke, and the petals are bittersweet.

* Daylily — Use for a slight asparagus or squash flavoring.

* Signet Marigold — These colorful flowers have a citrus taste.

* Geranium — These white, red pink or purple beauties have an apple or lemon flavor, depending on the variety you choose.

* Radish — The yellow flowers of this plant are hot and spicy.

* Violets — These flowers have a sweet to slightly sour taste.

Before consuming any flower, always thoroughly wash away any dirt and insects, remove the stamens and styles (the flower’s reproductive parts that contain the pollen) and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use. Then check out some recipes that use flowers, or use your creativity and invent your own. Bon Appetit!

Would you or have you consumed edible flowers?

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


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