Our Guide To Edible Flowers
Flower recipes are always a real showstopper at any gathering. Nowadays you see edible flowers on restaurant plates and cupcakes but today we've decided to show you some of our favorite that you can recreate at home. Decorate your dishes this summer with these colorful edible flowers and share your photos online, tagging Henry's Place so we can see your creations.
LIST OF FLOWERS:
Begonia: Both tuberous (Begonia x tuberhybrida) and wax (B. x semperflorens-cultorum) begonias have edible flowers with a slightly bitter to sharp citrus flavor. Tuberous begonia flowers contain oxalic acid, so should be avoided by people suffering from kidney stones, gout, or rheumatism.
Borage: Also known as starflower, borage’s tiny, five-pointed blossoms are usually blue but occasionally come in pink or white. They have a mild cucumber flavor with a hint of honey and are a lovely addition to many dishes, particularly salads and desserts.
The flowers can be candied to decorate cakes by brushing gently with egg white and sprinkling with sugar. They can also be infused into a simple syrup for use in cocktails, look beautiful frozen into ice cubes and are a popular garnish for Pimm’s.
Cornflower: The cornflower’s beautiful blue color is very striking and remains nearly as vibrant even when the petals have been dried. It grows as a weed in grain fields, hence the name, and has a sweetish, spicy flavor, sometimes described as clove-like. Fresh, it makes a beautiful garnish for salads or the dried petals can be used in baking.
Chamomile: Daisy-like chamomile has a slightly sweet, apple flavor. Their best known use is probably in tea which can be made with fresh or dried flowers and is thought to have a stomach-settling and mildly soporific effect. Many children’s introduction to the idea is probably Peter Rabbit being given a dose of this soothing tincture after his run in with Mr McGregor! The flavors pair well with honey and lemon and can be baked into cakes and crumble toppings, used as a flavoring for creamy desserts such as panna cotta or stirred into porridge as it cooks.
Chives: The flowers of chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are ball-like clusters of hundreds of little florets that can be separated and scattered onto salads for color and a mild onion flavour.
Dandelion: The ubiquitous dandelion (Taxacum officinalis) is entirely edible. When picked small, and unopened, the flower buds have a surprising sweetness, reminiscent of honey. Young greens are also tasty either raw or steamed. Dandelion petals look very nice when scattered over pasta or rice. While dandelions are rather easy to come by, make sure to harvest them only from organic gardens. Avoid any grown near roads or picked from lawns where chemicals may be present.
Marigold: Also known as calendula, marigolds are easy to grow but only the petals can be eaten. Fresh, they have a spicy, citrusy flavour, sometimes with bitter notes, and can be scattered over salads. Cooked they don’t taste of much but add a beautiful golden hue to all sorts of dishes including soups, pastas and risottos. Historically marigold petals were used to colour butter and cheeses and were known as ‘poor man’s saffron’.
Lilac: Like lavender, the flowers of lilac (Syringa vulgaris) have an intensely floral, almost perfumey flavor with lemon undertones. A little goes a long way, but one or two individual flowers added to a summer punch looks wonderful and tastes very refreshing.
Pansy: The flower petals of the familiar garden pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) are edible and highly decorative. The petals have little flavor, but the whole flower can also be used. It has a grassy, wintergreen undertone that works well in fruit salad.
Rose: All varieties of rose are edible and petals are widely used as a flavoring across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East, most obviously in desserts, ice creams and sweets (think gulab jamum or Turkish delight). The petals look stunning on cakes and trifles and make lovely jams, both on their own or combined with strawberries or raspberries. They can be infused into a simple syrup for use in cocktails and a few petals make a great addition to a G&T.
Roses can make an appearance in savoury dishes, too; the dried petals are used in ground spice mixtures like ras el hanout which are then used in tagines and to flavor grilled meats (rose is a particularly popular partner for quail). The more fragrant the flower the stronger the flavor will be, so go easy with it to stop your dish ending up with a soapy air.
Violet: Many varieties (Viola spp.) are suitable for decorating food. They come in a range of sweet, perfumed flavors, and a wide range of colors. Some of the tiniest violet flowers make the best additions to cakes, drinks, and salads.