Edible Flowers for Any Occasion
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• Nasturtium: A native of Peru, this beautiful summer-flowering plant is a climber. Nasturtium flowers come in several colors, and with their mild flavor, can be added to salads, pastas and vinegars, as well as to many other dishes as a garnish; spicy leaves taste peppery and can be added to salads and sandwiches.
• Pansy: Cheerful, bi- and tri-colored annuals related to violets and violas, pansies have a slightly sweet grassy flavor. They are commonly used as garnishes in desserts and fruit salads, frozen into dainty ice cubes, and glazed on cookies; fresh sprigs can be planted on cakes — a spicy wintergreen flavor is encountered if the pansy is eaten whole. In the heat of the summer they fade back, but will re-bloom when autumn brings cooler weather.
• Rose: An age-old flower, the rose is used in everything from cakes to jams to beverages, often used in the same way as vanilla flavoring. Flavors of roses vary; some leave a bad aftertaste while others taste like sweet apple or cinnamon. The white base of the petal, however, is bitter.
• Signet Marigold: Although possibly harmful if eaten in large amounts, signet marigolds are fine in moderation, having a tangy, spicy flavor. Many other marigold varieties’ flavors range from bitter to horrid. Go with the small signet types — and even then, remove the white parts where the petals attach to the plant. Use in butters, muffins, salads, even quiche.
• Squash Blossoms: These yellow blossoms can be stuffed, battered and fried, or used as “dishes” to hold salads, etc. Zucchini is the most commonly eaten flower from the squash family, possessing a mild vegetable flavor.
Other posy possibilities
Other flowers can be added to vinegars, teas, sorbets, custards, butters, soups, salads, sauces, and of course, used for decoration purposes, too.
Sweet-tasting flowers include red clover, dandelion, yucca, pineapple sage and elderberry.
Floral-flavored flowers include pea, apple, lilac, dianthus, honeysuckle, pineapple guava and scented geranium. Lavender and violet flowers give a perfumed flavor to food.