- Food and Cooking
The Edible Impatiens
Beautiful and Tasty, Too.
Impatiens, one of the most popular bedding plants in the Northern Hemphisphere, is also a tasty edible flower. Use it's sweet petals to flavor desserts, salads, and drinks.
Although one of the most uncommonly-used edible flower, impatiens are probably the handiest edible flower. Most of us have them growing in some shady location in our yard, adorning our shaded porches, or decorating our northern-facing windows.
With more than 850 different varieties, and more being cultivated every year, impatiens are so popular they are becoming a victim of their own popularity. Many "master" gardeners are refusing to plant them just because they are so popular. Not me. Well, I'm not a master gardener, so that may explain a lot. But I love impatiens. I love their look and ease of growing. I have many shady places that make them perfect for my yard and porches. And I love to use their petals to decorate my cooking and entertaining.
So read on to find fun and beautiful ways to use edible impatiens in your own culinary endeavors.
Make Flower Butter
Oh, how tasty!
Enjoy a beautiful and tasty accent for your next luncheon, brunch, or party. Or treat your family to a special occasion!
How To Make Flower Butter:
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh or dried petals
- 1 pound sweet unsalted butter, room temperature
- Finely chop flower petals and mix into softened butter. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature overnight to allow the flavors to fuse.
- Chill for a couple of weeks or freeze for several months.
More Great Ways to Use Edible Impatiens
Word of Caution
Always make sure the petals you choose are free of pesticides, chemicals, bugs, etc.
Make Your Own Flower Jelly with Edible Impatiens
Yummy on toast or bisquits
2 1/2 cups apple juice OR white wine
1 cup fresh impatiens petals, or other sweet-flavored petals
4 cups sugar
1/4 lemon juice
1 - 2 drops food coloring (optional)
3 ounces of liquid pectin
fresh flower petals (optional)
Bring juice or wine to a boil and pour over petals. Cover and steep until liquid has cooled, then strain out flowers leaving only liquid. Combine 2 cups of this flower infusion with sugar, lemon juice and food coloring. Bring to a boil over high heat and as soon as the sugar has dissolved, stir in the pectin. Return to a rolling boil, stirring, and boiling for exactly 1 minute. Remove the jelly from the heat and skim off any foam. Let jelly cool slightly and add more flower petals (if desired), then pour into sterilized jars. If petals do not stay suspended, stir jelly as it cools until petals stay in place. Process in hot water bath or seal with paraffin. Yields: 4 - 5 half pints.
Great for Decorating Cakes!
Crystallized/Candy Edible Flowers:
Candied flowers and petals can be used in a variety of imaginative ways - to decorate cakes large and small - all kinds of sweet things, such as ice cream, sherbet, crÃ¨mes and fruit salads, cocktails.
1 egg white or powdered egg whites
Superfine granulated sugar (either purchased or made in a blender or food processor - just blend regular sugar until extra-fine)
Impatiens Flowers (or any sweet edible flower)
Wire rack covered with wax paper
Carefully clean and completely dry the flowers or petals.
Beat the egg white in the small bowl until slightly foamy, if necessary add a few drops of water to make the white easy to spread.
Paint each flower individually with beaten egg white using the small paintbrush. When thoroughly coated with egg white, sprinkle with superfine sugar.
Place the coated flowers or petals on wax paper on a wire rack. Let dry at room temperature (this could take 12 to 36 hours). To test for dryness, check the base of the bloom and the heart of the flower to make sure they have no moisture. Flowers are completely dry when stiff and brittle to the touch. NOTE: To hasten drying, you may place the candied flowers in an oven with a pilot light overnight, or in an oven set at 150 degrees to 200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours.
Store the flowers in layers, separated by tissue paper, in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.