Using edible flowers as ingredients or garnishes for food and drinks is a pretty easy way to transform a dish into a work of art. If you’ve got a special brunch, a birthday, or some kind of special occasion where you really want to impress, try and find creative ways to make use of these fresh florals in your food.
These colourful, cartoonish blossoms always seem to bring to mind that scene from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, where the flower garden bursts into song. There’s something whimsical about them, so they really add a fun twist to food and drinks. Pansies are one of the most versatile edible flowers because their flavour is so mild, but when they’re that cute, you’ll be searching for excuses to use them in your meals.
To harvest them for food, snip off the flower heads early in the morning, and then store them in the fridge on a folded, moistened piece of paper towel. Sprinkle them onto salads, use them as a cocktail garnish, or press them onto frosted cupcakes or cookies for a little extra something.
One of the most widely used edible flowers, these sunset-coloured blossoms have a bit of a kick to them, so they’re great in savoury dishes like salads. Their buds, commonly known as capers, really pack a punch of flavour and can be mixed into kinds of pasta and other garlic-heavy Italian dishes. The leaves of the nasturtium are edible, too, so try adding them into salads or sandwiches for some extra greens.
This member of the onion family has that distinct oniony flavour, not just in its stem, but in the little purple pom-pom flower that sits on top! Pop them off and rinse them for use in salads, pasta, chicken, or anything else that could use a hint of onion. While they look pretty adorable if left intact, you’ll get a bit more flavour out of them if you separate the petals and sprinkle them all over.
While we tend to associate lavender with its soothing scent, the flavour has a similarly calming quality. Dried lavender pairs particularly well with soft flavours like lemon and honey, so adding them into baked goods or sprinkling them on top of cakes and ice cream can be really delicious.
If you really want to level up your bartending skills, make a simple syrup out of lavender! Melt one cup of sugar into one cup of water on the stove, bring it to a slow boil, add in a big bunch of crumbled up lavender flowers, simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and let it steep for 6″“8 hours. When it’s finished, strain it through a sieve, and you’ve got a fabulous aromatic syrup to sweeten up your vodka sodas with a squeeze of lemon.
People are often surprised that this common garden flower is also edible, but that just gives us more reason to love it! Marigolds are often chosen for their natural pest-repelling qualities, so they provide plenty of benefits for gardeners. Their golden petals have a peppery flavour that can spice up all sorts of dishes, but we really like the idea of sprinkling them all over a charcuterie board, because they pair well with cheese.
Tips For Using Edible Flowers In Your Dishes
Before you start grabbing all the flowers in your garden and heading to the kitchen, here are a few tips you should keep in mind:
- Don’t use flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides. All those chemicals certainly won’t do you or your dinner guests any good, so use spray-free flowers and wash them thoroughly before use.
- Not all flowers are edible. In fact, some garden flowers are poisonous and can make you very sick, so always do a Google search to check if they’re safe to eat before chowing down.
- Try to use them in cold dishes. Flowers tend to lose their flavour and colour if you cook them, so try to avoid that by tossing them into cold dishes, using them as a garnish, or sprinkling them onto hot meals at the last minute before serving.
- Harvest them when they look their best. If they look great, that means they’ll be at their peak flavour and quality, so snatch them up when they’re in their prime. Don’t wait till they start to get a little wilty “” plus, it won’t have the same visual impact that a fresh flower does.
- You can keep them fresh in the fridge for a few days. Fill a Tupperware container with a wet paper towel, place your cut flowers on top, and store them for a couple of days. Try to use them as soon as you can!
Even if you aren’t big on photographing all your fancy meals for Instagram so you can flex on your friends, it will be hard to resist showing off your culinary creations featuring your garden grown flowers. If you’d like to start growing your own edible flowers at home, come visit Salisbury Greenhouse, or order from us online! Curbside shopping and delivery options are available to make your garden shopping as simple as possible.