There’s basil, rosemary, thyme, coriander, parsley the list goes on of the herbs great for seasoning dishes. But there’s a whole other world of pretty petaled plants ready for you to devour.
Flowers You Can Eat
First things first, before we go into specific examples with names and recipe ideas please make sure that the plant you’re picking is the correct one. Even when you’re sure and ready to munch down that Marigold you have to also be certain there’s no herbicides or pesticides on it or used in its growth. There are many flowers out there that can cause a lot of harm to your health, even threaten your life. (After all they can’t move so they need a mechanism to protect themselves against the big bad world of predators).
Growing your own flowers is the way to go, not only because you will know what possible chemicals could have come into contact with it, but also because they are best eaten straight after picking. The texture and flavor is at its premium, no wilting wisterias will be in your kitchen (for two reasons, they’re poisonous and would have been picked from somewhere in your garden).
Tea and Drink Flowers
Most mainstream consumption of flowers is through floral teas such as jasmine and camomile. Great to unwind after a stressful day in the office. Other plants can be used to create drinks and infusions, for example elder flower cordial and nasturtium infusions or Hibiscus, honeysuckle and the Rose for those with a sweet tooth. The bright blue star-shaped Borage is also a great addition to punch, lemonade or gin and tonic.
The novel, subtle hints and bold colors of Johnny-Jump-Ups, Nasturtiums and Marigolds to name but a few are great for salads. Hard to miss Sunflowers bear the not-to-be-missed seeds, a fantastic, healthy snack especially tasty when toasted.
With a bit of sugar you can make candied Pansies, a superior option to the highly processed gelatin sweets alternative, whose plastic packaging leaves its scars over pavements, ugly consumer waste.
Looks can be deceiving. Flower power could work against you. There are plant species out there with edible and highly poisonous parts in the one same flower, for example Bushman’s Poison has pleasant scented flowers, tasty plum-like berries, leaves with medicinal properties but a fatal milky sap. South African tribesmen used the sap on the tip of their spears. Cyanide comes from flowers, including the ever so innocent hydrangea.
Choose and enjoy your new cooking ingredients with care, they can bring great delight to your palate. -E.Meskhi