Pretty Bouquet, Delicious Bouquet: Edible Flowers

Feature photo by cinziarizzo

Are you a foodie? I also consider myself a foodie as I love to cook, bake, eat, grow, talk about and of course, write about delicious food. Right now is the perfect time to start experimenting with edible flowers. They will perk up your taste buds and give you eating pleasure like you may not have experienced in a long time.

The first time I had experience with an edible flower was when I was a small child plucking the honeysuckles from my neighbors yard and sucking the nectar out of them. What an amazing discovery! I understood more why bees and butterflies were always swarming about, extracting the nectar from these natural wonders. After years of not being much of an adventurous eater, after college, I moved to Mexico and had my second experience with edible flowers. I experienced the amazing, titillating, delightful taste of edible roses that were made into a delectable, creamy sauce and topped quesadillas with queso fresco. That memory has always stayed with me and made me consider using more edible flowers as part of my cooking repertoire. Fast forward 10 years and I am once again reminded that edible flowers add another dimension to an ordinary meal.

My favorite edible flowers are roses, squash blossoms, nasturtiums and pansies. As you can deduce, I’m a fan of the sweeter flowers rather than the spicy and bitter ones. Here you will find a list of all of the edible flowers. Now that your interest is peaked with regard to edible flowers, let’s discuss what you should look for when buying or harvesting flowers to use in your home kitchen. Most important is to make sure that the flowers you buy or harvest are pesticide-free. You have the most control over how pure your flowers are by growing them yourself or harvesting the flowers from a friend or neighbor who you know doesn’t use pesticides. When you grow flowers, make sure to water them at the base rather than getting the petals wet as they tend to wilt and damage easily.

Secondly, when washing the flowers, try not to soak them with water. They are fragile, delicious plants that can be ruined with a full blast of water. Consequently, you could keep a spray bottle with water handy in your kitchen to gently spray the flowers to remove any dirt or debris.

When growing your own flowers, make sure to check them once in awhile for pests and if they are being overtaken my these nasty pests (usually scale or aphids), you can apply a small amount of orange oil diluted with water or find some ladybugs to take care of the pest problem for you.

Lastly, if you are wild plant/flower foraging, make sure you take a comprehensive guide with you so you can rest assured that you are harvesting edible flowers rather than poisonous ones.

Sweet desserts such as cakes, homemade ice creams, cupcakes and cookies make quite an impression when topped with or incorporated into the recipe, some colorful, delicious flowers such as roses, pansies and lavender. Pistachio Rose water cookies that I have made for my friends and neighbors have made a lasting impression. Nasturtiums make a wonderful addition to green salads. Squash blossoms are absolutely delightful when stuffed and pan fried. Here is the link to one of my favorite stuffed squash blossom recipes. I am salivating just thinking about making this recipe and am so happy that as I write this, we have several squash blossoms in the garden, ready to be picked, stuffed, fried and greatly enjoyed!

There are so many wonderful edible flowers just waiting to be enjoyed. Depending on your taste preference, whether you like spicy, bitter, sweet or sour, there are a plethora of flowers that can be incorporated into your cooking repertoire. Here’s to happy, adventurous eating!

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