Filed under: summer seasonal food | Tags: borage, edible flowers, horned violet, mexican marigold, nasturtium, rose, scotch marigold
To eat flowers is to eat something with no other sustenance but sheer beauty. They have mostly hardly any taste, contain no calories or nutrition for the body, but they will greatly nourish your Inner Fairy. What other would be a favourite meal in the eternal twilight in the Land of Fee, but a dinner that constitutes of flowers and a drop of nectar? In order to not forget what really is important in life, I try to cultivate some edible flowers every summer, to have that feeling of luxurious vanity in the every day life that can sometimes get a bit dreary.
Basically all flowers of edible plants are edible, though some of them may not be so very delicious. All of them can anyhow be used to decorate food. My favourite ones are the following:
Nasturtium(Tropaelenum Majus) is extremely easy to cultivate and has a very nice mustardy aroma, and is nicest in savoury dishes. It comes in several colours, ranging from orange to white.
is one of the species of the Viola. It’s very pretty and tastes slightly tangy. It is perennial and therefore easy to cultivate, and produces a lot of small flowers.
has a very distingtive sweet smell and taste, and the tiny flowers look great on top of cupcakes etc.
All species of rose are edible, but the less cultivated varieties taste nicer. I usually use Japanese Rose (rosa rugosa). Rose petals can be used also in a pancake mix, or added into other kind of doughs when baking. The white part of the petal tastes bitter and should be removed before eating.
(Calendula Officinalis) The petals can be used in salads or to decorate food. It has been used also to subsitute saffron, because it gives a nice yellow colour to food, though the taste is quite bland. Marigold is also a commonly used herbal remedy, it is said to enhance the healing of wounds and be generally good for the skin. Marigold should not be eaten by pregnant women, since it can add the production of estrogen in the body.
(Borago officin al is)is a flower that quite often grows as a weed in home gardens, at least here in Finland. The flower is one of the rare blue edible things, and tastes very sweet. There is some information that you should not eat any other parts of the borage plant, but in Central and Southern Europe also the leaves of borage are eaten. The flower should be safe to eat.
Also many of the wild flowers in Finland are edible, like fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), clover (Trifolium repense, Trifolium pratense) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Dandelion buds are said to be nice deep fried, but I’ve never tried that myself. Clover can be added to bread dough or dried and used in herbal tea mixtures. The flowers of yarrow (Achillea millefolium) have a taste that reminds of black pepper. Yarrow also has some medicinal qualities.
Also the flowers of spice herbs are often nice looking, like the flowers of oregano, anise hyssop, and basil, though some of them may be a little too dry to be actually delicious.
In order to preserve the flowers, you can freeze them in ice cubes, e.g. on an ice cube tray or in plastic bags. The ice cubes can be used in drinks, or melted and then used as decoration. Some of the flowers can also be used dried, like scotch marigold or rose, especially in herbal tea mixtures.
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