Merry meet and Welcome to my Kitchen. Come on in and grab a cuppa and see what we can share. This month I am focusing on a different way to use the Bounty of our Mother Earth. The year round bounty that is accessible like it never was in years gone by. And once frozen or dried you may be able to use this beauty and flavor year round.
We do not always think about the flowers of our plants. We focus on the leaves and roots, but forget that the blooms are often as flavorful as the rest of the plant. And many are gorgeous. So this month I am focusing on the edible flowers, both herbs and plants. I have listed some of the ways you can use them and a fairly large list. I have in no way compiled a complete list. I focused on mainly “flowers” and herbal flowers. You may wish to look further, as you can also use many fruit and vegetable flowers as well. So here we go..I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
How to Clean Edible Flowers:
Gentle shake each flower to dislodge any insects or dirt that may be hidden in the petal folds.
After carefully removing the stamen, wash the flowers under a gentle spray of water or place a strainer in a large bowl of water and gently move around..
Drain and allow them to dry completely on absorbent paper. The flowers will fresh providing they dry quickly and are not exposed to direct sunlight.
How to preserve edible flowers:
To preserve flowers, put them on moist paper and place together in a air tight container or in plastic Ziploc style bag. By using this method certain species can be preserved in the refrigerator for some 10 days.
You can also store the whole flower in a glass of water in the refrigerator overnight.
How to crystallized/candy edible flowers:
You can use candied flowers and petals in a variety of ways – decorate cakes – all kinds of sweet things, such as ice cream, sherbet or fruit salad.
1 egg white or powdered egg whites
Superfine granulated sugar –not confectioners sugar.
A variety of flowers such as violets, pansies, johnny-jump-ups, rose petals, etc. ( see list below)
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, you can add a few drops of water to make the egg whites easier 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).. Flowers are completely dry when stiff and brittle to the touch. NOTE: To dry faster, you can place the candied flowers in an oven set at 150 degrees to 200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours. Or you can use a food dehydrator if you have access to one.
Store the flowers in layers, separated by tissue paper, in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
Making Blossom Ice Cubes:
Use cleaned flower blossoms.
Boil water for 2 minutes for all the air trapped in the water to escape. Remove from heat and let the water cool until room temperature. This will ensure that the ice cubes are crystal clear.
Place each blossom at the bottom of each compartment in the ice cube tray. Fill half full with the cooled boiled water and freeze. After the water is frozen solid, fill each ice cube compartment the rest of the way to the top with the remaining boiled water. Freeze until ready to use.
How To Make Herb Flower Butter:
1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh or dried herb flower petals
1 pound sweet unsalted butter, room temperature
Finely chop herb flowers or petals and mix into softened butter.
To allow the flavors to blend and intensify allow the mixture to stand at room temperature overnight.
Can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or frozen for several months.
Edible Flower Chart , names and uses:
Begonia – Tuberous begonias
The leaves, flowers, and stems are edible. Begonia blossoms have a citrus-sour taste. The petals are used in salads and as a garnish.
The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism.
Also called Marigolds. A wonderful edible flower, flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as Poor Man’s Saffron). Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads. Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs.
Carnations can be steeped in wine, candy, or use as cake decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Dianthus are the miniature member of the carnation family with light clove-like or nutmeg scent. Petals add color to salads or aspics.
Sweet, anise-like, licorice. Raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.
Also called Bachelor’s button. They have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor. Bloom can be used as a natural food dye.
Most commonly used as garnish.
Flowers are sweetest when picked young. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Good raw or steamed. Also made into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. Mature flowers are bitter.
Sorrel flowers are tart, lemon tasting. So use like a lemon: as a salad topping, in sauces, over cucumber salads.
Sweet honey flavor. Only the flowers are edible. NOTE: – Do not eat Berries they are highly poisonous!!
The flowers have a sweet flavor. Use as a garnish in salads or floated in drinks.
Lovely yellow, white and purple blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads, to decorate cakes, or served with soft cheese. You can also in drinks, soups, desserts or salads.
The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant. Very fragrant, slightly bitter and has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones. Great in salads and crystallized with egg whites and sugar.
The marigold are great in salads as they have a citrus flavor.
Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse or pureed chicken salad. The leaves add peppery tang to salads. You can use the entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortes and open-faced sandwiches.
the flavor is extremely mild if you ably eat the petals, but if you eat the whole flower, there is a strong wintergreen flavor. Use as garnishes, in fruit salads, green salad, od candied on or in desserts.
Add peony petals to your summer salad or try floating in punches and lemonades.
Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor varies from strawberries to green apples. Sweet, with flavors ranging from fruity to minty/spicy. All roses are edible, with the flavor being stronger in the darker varieties. Use the whole bud or flower of the miniature varieties to garnish ice cream and desserts, or sprinkle larger petals on desserts or salads. Freeze in ice cubes and float them your punch bowl. Petals can be used in syrups, jellies, and sweet spreads. Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals before you use them..
Related to Johnny jump-ups or violas and pansies they now come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues. Eat the tender leaves and flowers in salads. Use the flowers to decorate desserts and drinks. All of these flowers make pretty decorations for cakes, sorbets, or any other desserts, and they may be candies/crystallized as well.
Most herb flowers are just as tasty as the leaves and are very attractive when used in your salads. Use the petals in any dish you were already going to flavor with the herb.
Alliums (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives)
Known as the “Flowering Onions.” There are many different kinds that includes the familiar onion, garlic, chives, ramps, and shallots. Their flavors range from mild to strong and garlic. All parts of the plants are edible. The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves. Eat the leaves and flowers in salads. The leaves can also be cooked as a flavoring with other vegetables in soups, stew and sauces.
Chive Blossoms have light onion flavor and aroma. Separate the florets and enjoy the mild, onion flavor in a variety of dishes.
Garlic Blossoms can have white or pink flowers, and the stems are flat instead of round. The flavor is milder than the garlic bulb, wonderful in salads.
Flower range from pale lavender-blue to deep rose; and the flavor is similar to licorice. Angelica seeds and stems can be candied or used in liqueurs. The young leaves and shoots can be added to a salad. In many countries Angelica is considered a vegetable and eaten raw.
Flowers range from white to pale pink or even a delicate lavender. The flavor of the flower is milder than the leaves. Basil also coming in different varieties that taste like lemon or mint. Sprinkle over salad or pasta for a splash of color and burst of flavor.
Also called Wild Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea or Monarda. Wild bee balm tastes like blend of oregano and mint. The red flowers can have a minty flavor. Any place you use oregano, you can use bee balm blossoms. Use the leaves and flower petals in both fruit and regular salads..
Borage has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms and leaves have a cool, faint cucumber taste. Use in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortes, and dips.
Chervil has delicate white flowers with an anise flavor.. add at the end of cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state in salads. Since Chervil’s flavor does not do well being dried or too much heat.
Chicory has an earthy flavor; you can eat either the petals or the buds. Chicory has been compared to endive.
Use leaves and flowers raw as the flavor fades quickly when cooked. Sprinkle to taste on salads, bean dishes, and cold vegetable dishes. Like the leaves and seeds, the flowers have a strong herbal flavor.
Dill has a tangy but stronger than their leaves. Use yellow flowers as you would the herb to season hot or cold soups, seafood, dressings, and dips. The seeds are used in pickling and baking. Add flowers to butter for wonderful herb butter.
It has a starburst yellow flowers that have a mild anise flavor. Use as a garnish with your entrees.
Petals may be eaten raw or you can cook the tender young shoots. The white variety of ginger is very fragrant and has a gingery taste on the tongue.
Flowers look beautiful and taste good in a glass of champagne or as a garnish for frozen desserts. Lavender works well with savory dishes as well, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. Petals can have a sweet, floral flavor, slightly citrusy.
The leaves and flowers can be used as an herbal tea, and used to flavor custards and flans.
Flowers are a milder version of plant’s leaf. Use as you would the herb.
Mint flowers and leaves are great in Middle Eastern dishes. Freeze and add to punches or drop into iced tea.
Milder version of plant’s leaf. Use as you would the herb.
A milder version of leaf. Use blossoms and leaves to enhance the flavor of Mediterranean dishes. Can be used with meats, seafood, potatoes or dressings.
The flowers are violet-blue, pink or white with a subtler sage taste than the leaves and can be used in salads and as a garnish. Flowers are a delicious companion to many foods including beans, corn dishes, sautéed or stuffed mushrooms, or pesto sauce.
The flavor of the flowers is somewhat hot and peppery and similar to thyme.
A milder version of the leaf. Use sprigs as garnish or remove the flowers and sprinkle them over soups, etc. Use thyme anywhere a herb might be used.)
Until next month
Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating
PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. Please email me at [email protected]