Edible Flowers in Our Food
Flowers in Herb Tea
Have you ever eaten flowers? I bet you have had flowers as food. Just look at herb tea. Off the box of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herb Tea, the ingredients are chamomile flowers, spearmint leaves, lemon grass, tilia flowers, passion flower leaves, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn berries and rosebuds. Jasmine and Lemon Verbena are also flowers that are made into teas.
The flowers that grow in clover are purplish-red called red clovers. Look for a white V on the leaves and a sweet scent, then, pick three flowers for tea. Wash them, then, put them into a tea ball, then, into a cup of hot water for about five minutes. Remove the ball and sip. You just made a cup of herb tea!
Flowers We Eat
Even if you don't drink herb tea, you probably have eaten broccoli, cauliflower or artichokes. The part we eat is the flowering bud of these vegetables.
Many of the herbs and spices that we use have edible flowers: basil, dill, marjoram, savory, fennel, ginger, thyme, safflower, chicory, anise hyssop, rosemary, sage, oregano, and mint.
The flowers I mention here will be only ones with which I am familiar because there are so many that are edible. If you are going to eat the petals of a flower, take the white tip off first.
- The only flowers I can recall ever buying at a grocery store in the fresh herb section were Pansies. I used them to decorate cakes to be eaten with the cake. The petals have a very mild taste and can be used on desserts or in salads.
- English Daisies are my favorite flower to look at. The petals have a slightly bitter taste. They would probably be best eaten in salads.
- Dandelions are part of the daisy family. They are the little yellow flowers that grow as weeds in our yards. When they are pickedyoung, they are sweet like honey. Choose flowers that are tightly bunched and close to the ground. The buds are also very good, and the leaves can be eaten, too. They can be steamed or put in salads.
- I love the smell of Lilacs. My grandmother had a lilac bush outside her house that had a wonderful fragrance in spring. As food, it has a strong floral flavor, and it is slightly bitter but definitely lemony. It probably would taste best in salads.
- Day Lilies are slightly sweet like melon, but may have flavors like sweet lettuce or asparagus and zucchini. They go well with desserts. Be careful that you don't choose the wrong lilies. Many lilies contain alkaloids and are not edible. Even Day Lilies may act as a laxative or diuretic.
- Tulip petals can be eaten, but some people have a very strong allergic reaction, but eat only the petals. The flavor changes from flower to flower. They may taste like sweet lettuce, baby peas, or cucumber.
- We often find Marigolds in gardens to keep rabbits out. They have a citrus, but slightly bitter, taste and are good in salads or sprinkle the petals in soup to change the color. Signet Marigolds can be harmful if eaten in large amounts.
- The Sunflower should be eaten when it is a bud and tastes like an artichoke. Its pollen can cause a reaction in some people.
- Rose petals have a perfumed taste and very bitter white base to the petals that needs to be removed. The flavors vary greatly depending on the type and color of the flower.
Most flowers are poisonous, so don't run into the woods and start eating flowers. Some edible flowers have a very bad taste.
- The flowers of most edible plants are edible. Do not eat flowers from these vegetable plants: tomato, potato, asparagus, eggplant, and pepper.
- Do not assume that a flower served with food in a restaurant is edible. They may have been added as decoration only. The cook or server may have no idea what flowers are edible.
- Do not pick flowers alongside the road or in any area that may have been sprayed with poison. If you are selecting wild flowers from a field, make sure that field hasn't been sprayed.
- Never eat flowers that come from a florist, nurseries, or garden centers.
- Make sure any flowers you eat have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, unless they are pesticides that are safe for foods.
- Be careful if you have allergies. These often occur because of a sensitivity to pollen. If you have concerns about allergic reactions, eat a small amount of one flower at a time. Make sure there is no reaction before moving onto another flower.
The best flowers as food for you to eat are those that have been specifically grown to be eaten.Wash all flowers thoroughly before eating. Be safe and use good common sense.
Would you decorate your food with edible flowers?
Carnation petals are used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur. Impatiens or Peonies are pretty floating in a drink. Primrose has been fermented into wine. Use Lavender in a glass of Champaign. Scented Geraniums can be frozen into ice cubes, then, served in drinks. The leaves and stems of the Chrysanthemum Crown Daisy are commonly used in Asian stir-fry dishes.
If you want to use flowers as food, get to know your flowers and start slowly.
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