An Edible Flower Garden
To most of us, the idea of eating flowers evokes the humorous image
of someone biting into a rose, or chomping off the head of a daisy.
Yet there was a time not so very long ago that flowers were an
integral part of cooking. While most of us are aware that violets can
be candied and nasturtiums eaten in salad, theres a truly
amazing variety of flowers that are not only edible, but delicious!
A Candy Flower Garden for Your Sweet Tooth
Violets arent the only flower that can be candied! Many of the
spring flowers with small, delicate blossoms have a sweet, slightly
spicy flavor that is enhanced by dipping in sugar. It goes without
saying that any flowers that you gather for eating should not have
been sprayed with any pesticide by growing them yourself, you
can be sure that theyre untreated. A Candy Flower Garden that
blooms throughout the summer can include:
Violets of course! Purple, blue or white, violets are
among the first flowers to bloom in the spring. They spread easily,
and grow readily when transplanted into a garden bed and you
do want to confine them to a bed unless you love the look of a full
carpet of blooms spreading across your lawn.
Pansies A relative of violets, pansies are just as
delicately flavored and can be used in most recipes that call for
violets. They make beautiful border flowers, with their bright
Angelica These delicate, lacy white flowers can be
sprinkled in salads but the stems and shoots make a delicious
traditional candy that tastes a bit like minty licorice.
Roses yes, roses! Candied rose petals and rose syrup
were mainstays in Victorian cooking. Sweet delicately flavored rose
syrup gives baklava its characteristic flavor, and is a perfect foil
for cardamom in Indian recipes.
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To candy flowers from your garden:
Violets and pansies can be candied whole. Roses should be separated
into petals. Most recipes for candied flowers call for the use of raw
egg whites. Because of the danger of salmonella, I recommend using a
confectioners powdered egg white instead.
Mix powdered egg white according to package directions (equivalent of
one egg white).
Spread a cup of superfine sugar in a flat bottomed pan. Carefully dip
each flower into the egg white, then press into the sugar. Use a fork
to gently turn the flower so that all surfaces of the petals are
covered. Lift out of sugar and lay on a screen or drying rack till
completely dry. Apple and cherry blossoms can also be candied the
A Soup, Salad and Savory Flower Garden
When I was growing up, one of the most special treats of early summer
was my grandmothers fried squash blossoms. Dipped in egg and
flower, then fried in olive oil with garlic, the blossoms have a
sweet, nutty flavor that is like nothing else in this world. Other
garden flowers that are delicious in soups and salads include:
Borage Like the leaves, borage flowers are delicious in
salads and cold soups. They have a cool, cucumber like taste that
translates well from flower garden to kitchen table.
Carnations The flavor is as spicy as the scent.
Carefully separate the petals from the bitter white of the
flowers base and sprinkle in salads for a surprising touch of
color and spice.
Daylilies Like squash blossoms, day lilies have a
mildly sweet, nutty flavor that many people think varies by color.
Dredged in flour and dipped in egg, fried daylilies are a succulent vegetable.
Those are just a small sampling of the many edible uses of flowers
from your garden. If youre interested in learning more,
youll find excellent recipes and information on edible flowers
at a number of web sites on the internet. DO be careful in your
taste-testing. If youre not certain that a flower is edible do
NOT eat it.