How to use edible flowers in our meals
In addition to being a natural and beautiful element of decoration, both in gardens and inside the home, office or any other place, edible flowers have come to occupy an important place in kitchens internationally.
Thanks to the color and the particular flavor that flowers bring to dishes and food, they have become an essential part of home and restaurant food.
Edible flowers must be organic. They should not be fumigated with agrochemicals or pesticides, nor should they be harvested in chemically treated areas in the past year.
Of course, not all flowers are edible. Those that are called edibles are those that we can consume with complete safety, without risk of serious poisoning.
Edible flowers have been present on people’s tables for thousands of years, in Asian, American and European countries. Its constant use has been maintained and increased thanks to its medicinal and healthy properties.
Benefits of edible flowers
Flowers not only bring beauty and a unique decoration to meals, they also provide great health benefits for diners, such as:
- They are a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, PP, B12, etc.
- They contain special oils favorable to the body.
- It is not necessary to consume large amounts to enjoy its benefits.
Aspects to consider when eating edible flowers
Although by nature edible flowers are safe for human consumption, there are several factors that you must take into account before eating them:
- Some flowers are edible only after they have been properly prepared.
- You should make sure to collect flowers that are truly edible, you may mistake them for toxic flowers.
- In some cases, allergic reactions can occur due to the consumption of flowers, mainly due to consuming pollen.
- The flowers, whether collected or from a commercial crop, may have been treated with toxic pesticides.
- It is not recommended that you eat flowers that are dirty, damaged or that contain insects.
- Some edible flowers should not be eaten frequently, as they can cause negative effects on the human body.
Tips for preparing edible flowers
These are some tips that will help you achieve a better preparation of your food, using flowers:
- It is best to cut the flowers in the morning hours, when the sun is less intense.
- Select the flowers with the best odor and in better condition.
- You should discard the stems, stamens, pistils and the white base of the petals, as they generally have a bitter taste.
- You should wash them well, preferably with cold water. To dry them, use absorbent paper, avoiding damaging the petals.
Preserve and use edible flowers
Flowers cannot naturally be kept for a long time, but you can use some techniques such as freezing, drying or immersion in oil for long-lasting preservation.
The flowers can be used for the preparation of jellies, syrup, drinks, desserts, sweets, soups, salads and main dishes. You can also make vinegars, wines and oils flavored with the flowers, by immersing the petals in these liquids.
Another preparation that can be made is sweet flowers. The flowers are crystallized with the egg white and sugar.
Listing the most popular edible flowers
All its parts are used from this beautiful flower. Its seeds are used in pastry to flavor breads, biscuits and fruit salads. The flower leaves are used in salads and their petals to flavor oils or wines.
With an aroma that makes the senses fall in love, this flower is mainly used to make desserts, thanks to its sweet flavor. It is used with meats and savory dishes to obtain contrast of flavors.
Also combined with citrus to make ice cream. It is used for cherry or strawberry ice creams, almond soft drinks, orange flan, among others.
Pink, red, white, orange or yellow, it has an acid flavor with a sweet touch. It is used in fruit salads, as a garnish or to combine with fruit salads.
It is also used to prepare meats, salads and ice cream.
Sechuan button or electric flower
This flower in button adds an explosive flavor if eaten fresh, after ingesting it provides a soft sensation of anesthesia.
The Sechuan button is used as a natural pain reliever for oral ailments.
If ingested dry, it provides a flavor similar to Sichuan pepper of Chinese origin, without the anesthetic effect.
These flowers have a delicate and sweet flavor, and are widely used in countries such as Italy and Mexico.
Italians use them to fill croquettes and ravioli. For their part, Mexicans use them to prepare soups, tamales and pancakes.
Pumpkin blossoms are eaten cooked, fried, in soups and casseroles, or after being passed through a paste. Stuffed are also prepared.
This flower is yellow, orange, brown or bicolor with a slightly bitter taste.
If it is fried battered with flour, it is used as an appetizer. Its raw petals are often used in salty or sweet salads.
Along with the leaves of the flower, it is used to flavor drinks.
Calendula has been used for centuries in ointments for its healing properties. It is also used in foods or desserts that include eggs, such as puddings.
This flower has a spicy flavor and you can eat its buttons, leaves and the flower itself.
It’s use is mainly in salads, and it is a perfect combination of parsley.
Carnation of the poets
This variety of carnation has a sweet flavor, perfect to use in making desserts, combined with fruits and in salads.
With a wide range of colors and shapes, these flowers provide, through their raw petals, a very special and delicious ingredient for salads.
They are also eaten with oranges.
This flower of violet color, has a flavor similar to that of onion but more subtle.
It is ideal for preparing a salad, and for decorating meat and fish main dishes.
Different types of geraniums provide diverse aromas of cakes and pastries, for example: Pelargonium crispum gives a lemony scent, Pelargonium graveolens pink, Pelargonium tomentosum mint, and Pelargonium odoratissimum apple.
You must use very fresh flowers as they lose their aroma quickly.
This well-known yellow flower has petals with a bitter flavor. The flavor of its petals disappears when you steam it for a few seconds.
They are usually used in soups and salads. Their cocoons, on the other hand, are steamed for consumption.
This precious flower is used to add an exquisite aroma to the meat. Jasmine tea is also prepared, and is used in the preparation of desserts for the flavor it provides.
This edible flower brings a delicious aroma to dishes.
In addition to its medicinal properties, the petals of the chamomile flower are used to add to sweet or savory salads.
Its most popular or common use is in the production of chamomile tea.
Pansy or Viola tricolor
This beautiful flower is used for decorating desserts, ice creams, fruits and salads, among others.
All species of roses are edible flowers. The flavor of the flower varies by type, color, and soil conditions, but is generally similar to the flavor of green apples or strawberries, with spicy hints. The flavor is stronger in darker species.
With roses you can make sweets, cakes, pickled baby peppers, fruit salads, and they are also used as an ingredient in seafood sauces.
Its petals are used to flavor cakes or jams. They can also be caramelized to add to cakes or fried with egg to make tortillas.
Roses are rich sources of vitamin C and have been used in wartime as substitutes for fruits or vegetables.
Before consuming roses you must remove the seeds and hairs, as they irritate the mouth.
This unique flower comes in a variety of colors, whether smooth or combined. Both its bulbs and its flowers are edible.
The raw petals are used in salads, or can be filled with tuna, boiled potatoes, and ciboullette.
These beauty of nature presents colors of great contrasts with a pleasant and smooth flavor.
Violets can be prepared in many ways and can be eaten fresh, dried, crystallized and candied.
Violet flowers are used to make digestive infusions.
The flowers are used as decoration for dishes and as ingredients for salads, desserts and filling for tortillas. The raw or cooked leaves are used to thicken soups.
It is recommended to avoid consuming yellow violets, as they are laxatives.
Other edible flowers are mallow, gladiolus, day flower, spring, borage, pompadour, elderberry, salsify, dandelion, fennel, dill, among many others.