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How to Use and Find Edible Flowers

How to Use and Find Edible Flowers

Edible flowers can make up color dishes that are pleasing to both the pallet and the eyes.

Chef Clyde Serda | Chef's Blade

Flowers have always been a part of the table from the times of the Greeks, Romans, and Ancient Chinese. Flowers have been used as table decorations and as part of our meals. Edible flowers not only impact our visual and olfactory joys, but, are also used to tantalize our taste buds. The tiny splashes of color provided by flower can be either visually subtle or impacting. The tiny splashes of color provided by flowers can help to elevate or complete the presentation of your plate. In most cases, flowers are used as a garnish to food. One can simply place flowering lavender or thyme on a dish or add sugared pedals to desserts. These additions may add just flavor or could be used as the main ingredient in warm winter teas or cool summer brews, flowered ice molds, flavored ices, or soups and vegetables.

Whenever using edible flowers as a garnish or as an ingredient, one should always assume that if it’s on the plate the guest will think it’s edible, so make sure it is. There are Ten Rules For Edible Flowers that should be followed:

1) Eat and serve flowers only when you are positive they are edible.

2) Just because someone has placed edible flowers as a food garnish does not make them edible Ait happens a lot on wedding cakes!

3) If the use of pesticides are necessary, use those which are labeled for edible crops.

4) Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers. In many cases, they have been treated with pesticides.

5) Do not use flowers which have been picked directly from roadsides, they may have been sprayed with pesticides.

6) Remove the pistils and stamens from flowers before eating; eat or use just the pedals.

7) Flowers may change flavor during different times of the growing season.

8) Introduce flowers into your diet in small quantities; one species at a time.

9) If you have allergies, edible flowers may aggravate them.

10) Enjoy the different flavors and colors of edible flowers.

A few other things to think about when gathering wild flowers for the table: Try to pick the flowers during the cool part of the day, avoiding flowers that are not fully open (unless buds are desired) or those starting to wilt. Remove the pistils and stamen because the pollen could detract from the flavor of the flower, as well as cause allergic reactions. Place long stemmed flowers in water and then in a cool location. Place short stemmed flowers between damp paper towels or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Immediately before using, gently rinse the flowers to remove dirt and any insects. In some cases, such as, roses, English daisies, and marigolds have a bitter white area at the base of the pedal where it attaches to the flower, cut or tear this off.

Edible flowers come in three categories: Edible Flowering Herbs, Edible Flowering Vegetables, and Edible Ornamental Flowers.

Nest Page:Examples of Flower Types>>