Don't Forget To Eat Your Flowers!
Looking for a unique, out of the ordinary way to spice up some of your favorite dishes? Why not try flowers!
More than just things of beauty; flowers offer delights for your eyes and taste-buds alike!
* Roses(genus Rosa).
In addition to being used in salads, the petals of the red rose can be smashed and added as an extra ingredient in your favorite sauces (i.e. tomato sauce) to add color and flavor. Believe it or not, rose petals have also been used to enhance the flavor of ice cream and the favorite beverage of your choice!
* Day-lily(genus Hemerocallis)
With colors ranging from yellow to red, this flower can be lightly cooked and served as a vegetable. Don't confuse this flower with others of the same family - Liliaceae.
* Garden Pansies(Viola wittrockiana & Viola tricolor)
Although these bright and colorful flowers can be used to enhance the flavor and appearance of fruit and vegetable salads, they may be toxic in large amounts. They can best be used by adding an entire flower right before serving a salad, and after adding any vinaigrette (or other dressings of your choice). These flowers can also be used in your favorite soup!
* Garden or English Violet(Viola odorata)
These beautiful flowers go great with desserts and beverages. [ a quick tip: place a small flower or petal in the individual compartments of your ice-cube tray, pour water in each compartment; then freeze. Viola! You now have petal ice cubes that will add a hint of flavor in your favorite beverage as the ice slowly melts]
( It's important to note that no other flowers of the Viola genus are considered consumable).
* Squash Blossom(Cucurbita pepo)
These flowers can be used in entrees and soups. It's blossoms go extremely well with the squash itself, corn, and olive oil. If you're trying to achieve a stronger flavor, simply saute the flower's blossoms with some herbs, garlic, onions, and your favorite spices (always remove the outside prickly leaves before cooking the flowers - pistils can be left on or removed according to preference).
* Common Blue Violet(Viola Sororia/Viola Papilonacea/Viola Floridana)
These pretty, low-growing flowers can be candied, and the leaves are high in vitamins and can be used in salads.
* Pickerelweed(Pontederia Cordata)
The young leaves of this aquatic plant, can be cooked as a pot herb, or can be added to salads.
* Bush Morning Glory(Ipomoea Leptophylla)
This attractive, funnel-shaped flower that ranges from deep pink to purple-red, possesses roots that are edible. Much like its relation; the Wild Potato Vine; the roots of both plants can be boiled or baked like sweet potatoes.
* Cutleaf Toothwort(Cardamine Concatenata/Dentaria Lacinata)
A woodland plant with a peppery taste;cutleaf toothwort can be added to salads or made into a relish.
Although palatable, there are some rules to live by when consuming flowers. These include:
1.) Make a positive identification regarding edible flowers (when in doubt, leave it out).
2.) Never, ever consume flowers that have been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
3.) Only eat flowers that have been grown organically (or far from roadways).
4.) Always wash and disinfect before consuming (raw or cooked).
5.) Individuals who have asthma or plant-related allergies, shouldn't consume flowers.
(* Tip: since the flavor of flowers may be affected by factors such as temperature and soil, it's best to taste the petal of the flowers to determine which one you will use as food. Normally the base of the petal is somewhat bitter, so cutting that part off, or simply eating the outer part of the flower can fix that problem).
Who knew the potential these beautiful plants were hiding! So don't forget to eat your flowers.
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