a fresh way to give (edible!) flowers
posted: April 26, 2014
Giving mom a bouquet of flowers is sweet, but we decided to have a little extra fun with the idea this Mother’s Day, to take our effort a step further for the woman who always goes the extra mile for us. How? By adding edible blooms to our cooking and cocktails for her to indulge in.
Edible Flowers 101: know what you’re eating
The best way to get your hands on some edible flowers is by growing your own–that way you know they haven’t been treated with pesticides or any other nasty chemicals (which are poisonous.) If you don’t have a garden, head to your local whole foods market, or look for blooms that are just starting to hit spring farmer’s markets. You can also order fresh or dried edible flowers online. Just make sure the flowers you choose are, in fact, edible. Here’s how you’ll know:
We chose eight edible varieties that bloom in spring, and put them to the test:
Chamomile: This small white flower has a slight apple flavour (and as we all know, it’s also great in tea).
Pansy: This pretty bloom has a mild, sweet flavour, which makes them a perfect addition to most dishes. (Note: you can use the whole flower, not just the petals.)
Snapdragon: You can eat these pretty little flowers, but they are quite tart, so they’re best left for garnish.
Tuberous Begonia: This bright and beautiful flower has a crisp, sour, lemony flavour (Note: eat these in moderation as the flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism).
Rose: This classic beauty has a strong fruity flavour and even stronger perfume scent–be sure to remove the bitter white base from each petal though.
Osteospermum: This pretty bloom is eaten occasionally, but is best used as garnish or in ice cubes as it has a slightly bitter taste.
Mint: While this isn’t a flower, we think the flavour of these leaves go quite nicely with the rest of the blooms we test drove. We think you’ll agree!
This is all you need to make beautiful and tasty edible flower creations
Edible Flower Ice Cubes
- Ice cube trays
- Distilled water, boiled and chilled. Boiling the water ensures your cubes will freeze clear, not cloudy.
- Mix of edible leaves and flowers. We used chamomile, rose, carnation, pansy, osteospermum and begonia.
- Mixed berries. We used raspberries and blueberries.
- A few sprigs of mint.
Directions: This is ridiculously simple. Just grab your ice cube trays, fill them with the distilled, boiled water, then press your flowers into the cube so that they are covered in water, and pop them into the freezer.
If you want your flowers to be suspended in the middle of the cube, you’ll have to work in layers. Fill your trays 1/4 full of water then place your flowers facing down and freeze. Then, fill to the top and freeze again.
Tip: Once they’re frozen, the floral cubes will brighten any spring cocktail (or mocktail), while the fruit cubes will add flavour. Our favourite is to add sparkling water to a pretty glass, and voilà! The perfect spring refreshment. (Though we also think they’d be pretty awesome in a crisp glass of rose wine—just sayin’!)
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup chopped chard
- 1/2 cup mix of edible flower petals (we chose carnation, rose, begonia, pansy, and snapdragon)
- 1 grapefruit (cut in four quarters)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toss, and add the first four ingredients to a plate or bowl. Then, garnish with a healthy bit of grapefruit (adds the perfect amount of tanginess to this dish.) Drizzle your oil and vinegar on top (we’re really into apple cider vinegar these days), and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. And there you have a fresh, spring salad that tastes divine and looks gorgeous, too.
Edible Flower and Greens Smoothie
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup chard
- 1 cup berries (we used blueberries and raspberries)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup edible flowers and a few for garnish (we used pansies, carnations, begonias, roses and chamomile)
- 1 cup coconut water
- a few ice cubes (if you like your smoothies chilled)
Throw all the ingredients in your high-powered blender, starting with the coconut water. Add the ice cubes last and blend until smooth. Garnish with your choice of edible bloom.
Looking for more ways to use edible flowers? Stay tuned for our flower syrup recipes, coming soon.
Alicia-Rae is a writer, adventurer and our international blog coordinator. You’ll never catch her without her pen, notepad and camera in tow. She’s a DIY aficionado, and believes the best, and most beautiful, things in life are homemade. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.