Edible flowers are flowers that can be eaten safely. These flowers may be eaten as vegetables as part of a meal or used as an herb to add flavoring. In recent years they have grown in popularity, and the trend has been to use them as an edible garnish for desserts. These flowers are part of many regional cuisines, including Asian, European, and Middle Eastern. They can be used to add flavor and decoration.
Many of these flowers have distinctive flavors, and some are quite powerful. There are many ways to incorporate them into your cooking and meals include adding them to salads, soups, and marinades. They can also be brewed for tea, added to beverages such as wines, or freeze them in your ice cubes.
To get the best flavor out of the flowers, they should be fresh, preferably buying them early in the day. Make sure you get them from the fresh produce section of your grocery store or even try growing some. If they are not fresh, you take the chance of not getting the full flavor of the flower. In fact, the flowers could be bitter and taste unpleasant. If you have a green thumb, you should think about growing them yourself as you can harvest them whenever you want.
If you are going to consider using edible flowers, here are some tips to consider before trying them:
- Do your research and learn the parts of the flowers that are edible. For example, the entire colorful petal of a calendula or marigold is edible, but not the end or base of the flower.
- Taste them before you add them to your food. Many edible flowers have a unique and distinctive taste.
- Test them in the food you are serving. If you are going to add them to a salad, make sure they do not wilt or turn brown with vinegar (the base of some salad dressing). If that is the case, you might want to add them at the last minute.
- Don’t forget to wash the flowers before you serve them. Dip them in room temperature water and let them dry on a paper towel.
- Don’t serve them to people without telling them. People could have allergies, and some of these flowers have pollen.
Here are 6 edible flowers that can add health benefits to your meals:
1. Borage –
This flower is a beautiful sky-blue color. Borage has a cucumber flavor. Try adding it to fruit, green salads, lemonade, or gin drinks. It can also be frozen in ice cubes. Borage is a good source of fatty acids that can help regulate your metabolism. It also supports good cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
2. Calendula –
This plant is edible and known for its medicinal benefits. Depending on the variety of Calendula, it has a tangy to peppery taste. The petals can be used in soup, rice, and even egg dishes. They are also known to be used in salves and dyes for wounds and burned skin. Calendula is also known to aid in digestion, reduce fevers, and support the immune system.
3. Hibiscus –
The large beautiful flower of this tropical plant is edible. The most popular variety is known as Roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa. The flowers come in an array of colors, including various shades of pink, red, yellow, and white. It is usually used for tea but also has been added to relishes, jams, and salads. The tea is red and has a tart taste. It can be served hot or over ice. Research has shown that Hibiscus can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
4. Lavender –
This plant is edible and is known for its wonderful scent. It has a sweet flavor that enhances desserts such as cakes, muffins, and custards. You can also harvest lavender for tea or add some lavender to white wine or champagne to add some flavor and a pretty scent. When it comes to health benefits, lavender is known for creating a sense of calm and relaxation. It helps with sleep and can aid in getting rid of a headache.
5. Nasturtiums –
With this plant, both the flowers and leaves are edible. The flowers have a peppery taste, and the leaves have been compared to watercress. Nasturtiums come in orange, red, and yellow and can add bright colors to your salad or pasta dish. This flower is high in Vitamin C.
6. Yarrow –
This entire plant is edible. Yarrow smells like licorice and has a mildly sweet flavor similar to tarragon. The flowers and leaves are often used in salads, soups, and stews. Try adding yarrow to vinaigrette for a lovely salad dressing or to sorbet and fresh fruit salads. You can also dry the flowers and leaves to create a dry spice. Yarrow has a wide variety of health benefits that include a topical anti-inflammatory and wound healer. It also helps with sleeping.
You might be used to seeing beautiful flowers, but now you can also see the many uses and benefits of flowers to your health by including them in your menus. Try adding them to a meal soon!