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Edible flower power

There’s definitely an uptick in the trend towards a healthier lifestyle, and eating clean and healthful food is at the heart of this wellness revolution. Sometimes, the ingredients that go into those detox diets are not a pretty and appetising sight, but there’s a garden variety you could try that’s not only eye candy but also succulent and scrumptious.

eating flowers, edible flowers
A delicious flower salad

The perks of eating edible flowers
Eating edible flowers has been around for thousands of years. Our ancestors had to get creative in finding sustenance, and foraging in the forests for food is part of their hunting and gathering existence. These days, we have the local farmer’s market for all our organic dietary needs – edible flowers included.

Flowers are not only aesthetically pleasing; they also contain nutritional and medicinal value. Different parts of the flower can provide various benefits. The pollen is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Nectar Edible contains amino acids, and the petals, depending on the flower variety, can contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Dining on flowers
Here are the basic blooms you can safely consume along with how best to enjoy them:

Roses and marigolds for salad
Salad is the most obvious preparation option for edible flowers. Pick out a variety of yellow, red, and violet blooms and toss them up in pretty bowl. Who can resist such a sumptuous presentation of blooms ready for consumption? For this appetizer, roses and marigolds are perfect choices. Roses, of the rose hip variety, is high in vitamin C, so to marigolds and nasturtiums. Add several dandelion blossoms into the mix for a kick of vitamins A and C. You can even add dandelion leaves for some green color. Those are rich with vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and phosphorous.

Hibiscus flower enchilada
Up your cooking aptitude by preparing an edible flower enchilada. While salads require freshly-picked blooms, this recipe calls for dried flowers. Use dried hibiscus as meat substitute in your enchilada for a lighter, cleaner meal. Certain fruit acids in hibiscus may have laxative properties, so try not to eat too much.

Elderflower popsicle
From appetizer to dessert, there’s no shortage for inspiration where edible flowers are concerned. Beat the heat this summer by cooling down in style with some refreshingly flavorful and visually stunning edible flower popsicles.

Orchids and violets in your cocktails
Here’s a treat for the grown-ups. Spice up your cocktails with edible flowers to infuse flavor and flair. Garnish your gin mixes with violets or an orchid into your cachaça cocktail and you’re set to impress your guests.

eating flowers, edible flowers
Fine flower dining

Safety first!
While it’s tempting to go pick flowers at random to get your floral feast going, it’s best to err on the side of safety. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Train your eyes to accurately identify edible flowers. While markets mark their blooms to separate edibles from the not, it’s a lot trickier if you decide to pick out the flowers yourself. Some species look strikingly similar but are not, in fact, safe to eat.
  • With most anything that’s worth eating, the early bird gets the worms. So get up bright and early to harvest flowers while they’re fresh and dewy. Also, don’t let them sit out too long before you munch on their crispy petals because there’s nothing appetizing about sagging, wilted blooms.
  • Read up on edible flower preparation because not all parts of all flowers are safe for consumption.
  • If you have asthma, allergies or have a queasy, sensitive stomach, then better leave flowers for viewing not eating lest you develop adverse reactions to the blooms.
  • Lastly, you can’t have too much of a good thing.As mentioned, certain varieties have laxative properties, so exercise moderation in flower consumption.

Start foraging. Bon appétit!

Try these other recipes to go with your flower inspired efforts.