Do you think flowers are only for the garden? Definitely not! Here are five flowers you can grow in the garden, and use in your kitchen. PLEASE NOTE: Not all plants are edible. Make sure your buy edible flowers from a reputable retailer, and always go for organic – you don’t want to consume pesticides!
1. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Calendula flowers (also known as marigolds) bring a splash of sunshine to a plate. They have a sharp, peppery taste and can actually be used as a substitute for saffron (some call it ‘poor man’s saffron’). Add petals (the only edible part of the flower) to sauces, preserves, soups, or scrambled eggs.
2. Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Only the petals of carnations are edible. They taste spicy and peppery, but if you steep them in sweet wine, they absorb the flavor and can therefore be used in desserts. The curled petals make a pretty addition to a salad.
3. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium)
These flowers come in a wide range of colors – red, white, yellow, and orange. The petals taste slightly bitter and should be blanched first before using them in a salad. Dried flower buds can also be used to make a herbal tea infusion. The greens of the Chrysanthemum plants are popular in Asian cooking, where it’s eaten in salads.
4. Clover (Trifolium species)
Clover has been used for many years in folk medicine, as a treatment for anything from gout to rheumatism. But their use is not limited to medicine only, you can use them in cooking too. Fresh flower blossoms can be cooked in a similar way than you would zucchini blossoms. Dust them with flour, and fry until crispy. They taste sweet, with a slight anise flavor.
5. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinalis)
Dandelions are members of the daisy family. Young flowers have a sweet taste (much like honey) and they can be eaten raw of steamed. Mature flowers can become bitter, so avoid these. Use the leaves in salads, or sprinkle over cooked rice.
Have you incorporated flowers in your cooking before?