edible flowers

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Oklahoma! I hope you all got outside to enjoy the sunshine and mild temperatures! Speaking of sunshine, it is March, so it is time to start planning your garden. I thought it would be fun to talk about edible flowers. Most of us have tasted a honeysuckle blossom (I hope) and know that squash blossoms taste good and look beautiful in a dish, but there are so many more edible flowers!  Fun fact: Using flowers in recipes dates back to the Romans and are often used in Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures. 

Things to remember when using edible flowers:  Less is more. Too many can really overwhelm a recipe. Many herb blossoms have a stronger flavor than the leaf and eating too many flowers can cause digestive upset. Never eat blossoms found by the roadside, as you will then be eating exhaust fumes. Always check and double check to make sure the flower is edible. Some flowers can be eaten as a whole, stem, leaves and blossom, but with some flowers, only the petals are edible. Never garnish with inedible flowers. And last but not least, do not cook with flowers from a florist or greenhouse, as they may have been exposed to pesticides not meant for food use.

Angelica: Both stem and blossom can be eaten. It tastes like celery.

Begonia (wax and tuberous): Leaves, stems and blossoms are edible. Often used in salads. I have a covered flower bed in which I plant begonias every year. I can't wait to try some begonia blossoms in my salads this summer.

Carnation: Only the petals are edible, and the petals must be cut away from the white base of the flower.  Carnations taste a lot like they smell: cinnamon, spicy and sweet. Often, carnations and dianthus (miniature carnations) are used as cake decorations and may be used in other desserts. Fun fact: carnations have been used to make Chartreuse for over 400 years!

Chrysanthemum: Leaves and petals are edible, and the flowers are tangy, ranging from mild pepper to cauliflower. Petals should be blanched, then added to salads or stir fry.

Clover: Flowers, leaves and stems are edible. Choose only brightly colored blossoms as the flowers turn bitter as they turn brown. Caution should be taken when eating raw clover as the flowers can be difficult to digest. The flowers are sweet and taste faintly of licorice.

Dandelions: These weeds we spend countless hours digging out of our yards are indeed edible. Young flowers and leaves are best, as mature flowers are bitter. They taste a little like honey, and they can be made into a pretty potent wine.

Marigolds: Only the petals are edible, but marigolds are an inexpensive replacement for saffron. Spicy, tangy and peppery, the brilliant yellows and oranges add beautiful color to soups, salads, pasta, and rice.

That is all for this week! Have a wonderful week, Oklahoma City!

Lilygrass flowers and decor    

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