“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
I Peter 4:10
March included two presentations on Edible Flowers – the first one was for the Fairgreen Garden Club on March 6th and the second for the Edgewater Landing Garden Club on March 13th. For each presentation I decorated my hat with edible flowers from my garden to pass around in addition to the displayed pictures and shared information about the use of some of my favorites.
Here is a list classified by Savory & Sweet highlighting the edible flowers from my hat with a recipe for their use:
Borage (Borago officinalis) - cucumber-like
- Toss in salads, cucumber tea sandwiches
BORAGE CANAPES: Mix 1-8oz cream cheese with 1/2c finely chopped cucumber and 1Tbs fresh dill until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture on bread rounds. Place one prepared borage bloom on each - great for summer tea parties!
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) - spicy to tangy
- Use for color in lemon blend teas, savories & sweets
CALENDULA CORNMEAL CRISPS: Cream 1c butter, 1c sugar and 1/2c fresh or dried calendula petals in food processor, then add egg and mix well. Add 1/2c chopped pecans and 1/2c dried cranberries to butter mixture, then add 2c flour and 1/2c cornmeal plus ½ tsp nutmeg, 1tsp baking soda and 1tsp vanilla. Roll into two logs, wrap & refrigerate overnight. Slice, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) - endive-like
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) – onion
- Roll cheese logs in individual florets, make flower vinegar
Chives, Garlic (Allium tuberosum) – garlic
Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora) – peppery-vegetal
Daisy (Bellis perennis) - lightly herbal
Daylily (Hemerocallis spp) - mild vegetal or sweet floral
- Stuff with chicken salad, spiced cream cheese or chocolate mousse or useon tea sandwiches like lettuce.
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) - mild, nutty
Mustard (Brassica juncea) – hot, pungent
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) - hot, peppery, watercress-like
- Stuff with herbed cheese, use on open-faced sandwiches or inside wonton ravioli for salads
NASTURTIUM SPRING ROLLS: Arrange 12 red lettuce leaves, 1 pkg rehydrated ramen noodles, 1 julienne sliced cucumber, 1 peeled and sliced mango, 12 nasturtium leaves, 12 nasturtium blossoms and 24 spearmint leaves on a large platter. Have guests assemble spring rolls by placing a rice paper wrapper in a bowl of warm water, then lay flat on damp towel. Cover half the wrapper with a red lettuce leaf. Top with noodles, several cucumber strips, a mango slice, a nasturtium leaf, a flower and two mint leaves. Fold the wrapper in half to close. Fold both ends in toward the center. Roll the wrapper up from the bottom, lengthwise, to form a tube. Enjoy!
Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus) - bean-like
Squash (Cucurbita spp) – vegetal
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) – artichoke-like to bittersweet
Yucca (Yucca spp) - hint of artichoke
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) - anise-licorice
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) – minty
- Tea sandwiches with cream cheese and crushed pineapple
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) - apple-like
Citrus (Citrus spp) – floral with citrus
Dandelion (Taraxacum spp) - honey-like when first open
Dianthus (Dianthus caryophyllus) - clove-like
- Easily candied to use on desserts like custards
Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) - sweet floral
Jasmine (Jasminum sambac, J. officinale) – floral
Johnny Jump-Up (Viola tricolor) - mild wintergreen
Lavender (Lavandula spp) - floral with citrus notes
- Use sparingly in lavender – lemon cookies, lavender lemonade & Herbes de Provence tea sandwiches with cream cheese on pumpernickel bread
Pansy (Viola wittrockiana) - mild mint
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) – fruity with hint of spice
- Fruit salsa, pineapple mint pinwheels
PINEAPPLE SAGE SALSA: Combine 2c diced pineapple, 1/2c diced papaya, 1/2c diced red bell pepper, 1/4c minced sweet vidalia onion, 1Tbs fresh lime juice, 1/2tsp five-spice powder, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper and 1/3c pineapple sage florets and stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate a few hours to meld flavors. Serve over grilled chicken or fish or with tortilla chips as an appetizer.
Rose (Rosa spp) – floral
- Petals used in butters & spreads for tea sandwiches, cakes and floral teas
ROSE PETAL POUND CAKE: Cream 2c sugar and 2c butter. Add 9 eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add 1tsp vanilla. Combine 4c flour, 1/2tsp cream of tartar & 1/2tsp salt, then slowly add to creamed mixture until completely blended. Stir in 4tsp rose water and 7tsp rose petals. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for approximately 1 hour.
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) - tart, citrus
- Petals used in salads, calyx for beverages, jams, curries, chutneys & vinaigrettes
Scented Geranium (Pelargonium spp) – floral, mint or spicy
Texas Tarragon (Tagetes lucida) - anise-like with citrus
- Herbal butter, cookies, chicken salad sandwiches
Tuberous Begonia (Begonia tuberhybrida) - lemony
Violet (Viola odorata) – floral
- Garnish for cookies, freeze them in ice cubes for punches and syrup for iced drinks.
VIOLET SYRUP: Boil 1c water, 3c sugar and 1 1/2c violet blooms for 10 minutes or until thickened into a syrup. Strain through cheesecloth into a clean, sterilized glass jar. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Violet syrup may be drizzled over sliced fruit or angel food cake, poured over ice cream, or added a little to a glass of lemonade.
Additional recipes are available on Edible Flower Tasting Tea, plus these 5 Rules of Edible Flowers:
· Eat only flowers identified as safe and edible in at least three references. Just because a flower is served with food does not mean it is edible.
· Eat only those flowers grown organically or treated with organic pesticides like those used on fruits and vegetables. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, garden centers or flowers picked from the side of the road.
· Eat only the petals, remove pistils and stamen unless blooms are small such as lavender, violets, scented geraniums, etc. The white base of the petal on many flowers may have a bitter taste and should be removed from flowers such as chrysanthemums, dianthus, marigolds, and roses
· Taste first. There are many varieties of any one flower. Flowers taste differently and have different flavors when grown in different locations. Rinse flowers in running water before tasting
· Eat only in small quantities and introduce gradually one variety at a time only if you do not have allergies, asthma or hay fever