Valentine's Flowers on Your Plate

February 07, 2018

Flowers for Valentine's Day?
Why not offering your loved one some flowers on his/her plate...and eat them?

Getting some beautiful and edible fresh flowers in the middle of February is no longer a problem. You can grow most of the edible flowers right in your kitchen all year round with the Natufia Kitchen Garden. Always freshly picked, always without pesticides, always with the true original taste.

Edible flowers are the new hype in haute cuisine. Not only restaurant chefs but also innovative home cooks can garnish their entrees with edible flowers for a touch of elegance. The secret to success when using edible flowers is to keep the dish simple, because too many flavors will over power the delicate taste of the flower.

Roots of flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times. They were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign.


Here are some examples of delicious edible flowers and tips how you can use them:

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – Also known as Marigold and Poor Man’s Saffron. A wonderful edible flower which flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron especially when sautéed in olive oil to release its flavor. Petal’s vibrant golden color adds dash to any dish. Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads. They add ayellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs.

Johnny-Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) – Lovely yellow, white and purple blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads, to decorate cakes, or served with soft cheese. They are also a great addition to drinks, soups, desserts or salads. Suits perfectly to Valentine’s day menu, as it is also called: heart's ease, heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me or come-and-cuddle-me.

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinalis) – Dandelion flowers taste the sweetest when picked young. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Specially the buds taste good both raw or steamed.  You can steam the young leaves or toss them fresh in salads. For different rice dishes, dash dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.

 

Roses (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis) – While roses have a strong floral scent, their flavor is quite subtle and fruity. It reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. Miniature varieties are perfect for garnishing ice cream and desserts, while larger petals add the magic to desserts or salads. You can freeze them in ice cubes and ice Popsicle or use in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads.

Borage (Borago officinalis) Beautiful blue, star-shaped flowers from the borage plant taste a bit like cucumber, which is why they can be used in salads. They are also delicious in lemonade and refreshing cocktails for added flavor and color.

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) – Hibiscus has a cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones. Use slightly acidic petals sparingly in salads or as garnish. The flower can be dried to make an electric pink colored hibiscus tea. which packs comparable medicinal and nutritional benefit.

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) – The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant. Very fragrant, slightly bitter. Lilac has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones. It’s great in salads and crystallized with egg whites and sugar.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.) - Nasturtium flowers and leaves impart a peppery kick to salads, a little like watercress. They also add a pleasing dash of bright color. One of the most popular edible flowers, nasturtium blossoms are brilliantly colored with a sweet, floral flavor bursting with a spicy pepper finish. When the flowers go to seed, the seed pod is a marvel of sweet and spicy. You can stuff flowers, add leaves to salads, pickle buds like capers, and garnish to your heart’s content.

Not all flowers are suitable for eating. Always identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers.

 



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