Edible flowers can enhance the look and taste of most dishes. Not sure how to use them? Marianne Alexander explains how:
RELATED TO EDIBLE FLOWERS: Flowering herbs
- After picking flowers, rinse them in salt water before storing them in the fridge, in a plastic container or an inflated plastic bag. Revive wilted flowers in a bowl of cold water.
- Make sure the flavour of the flowers enhances or complements the dish. For sweet dishes try rocket, rose petals, lavender, dianthus, violas and violets. Good matches for savoury dishes include thyme, fennel, basil, marjoram, chives and calendula.
- Scatter fresh petals or flowers on a salad. Try nasturtium, chives, calendula petals, salad burnet, sorrel and oxalis.
- Toss flowers on top of the filling in your sandwiches.
- Fill exotic blooms like hibiscus or day lilies with your favourite dip.
- Freeze flowers in ice cubes to be used at a later date.
- Steam or stuff whole flowers of courgettes and unopened buds of sunflowers with a filling.
- Dip the ‘inner’ of artichokes in melted butter and garlic.
- Flavour jams, jellies and sorbets with delicately-flavoured rose petals from blossom and roses.
- Make elderberry flower fritters.
Crystallised flowers add a special decorative touch to desserts. To make them, beat an egg white lightly; just enough to break it up without making it frothy. Gently paint each flower with the egg white using a fine paint brush. Sift castor sugar over it very lightly, turning to coat all sides, place on grease proof paper. Dry in a warm place or in a just warm oven with the door open and fan on. Store them in an airtight tin or plastic container until needed.
A floral ice bowl is a pretty way to serve fresh fruit salad when entertaining. To make one, simply add a little water to a glass bowl then place a smaller bowl inside it. Carefully slip flowers into the water between the two. Place them in the freezer. When the water is frozen solid, carefully remove the two glass bowls; a little cool water works best as hot water can melt the ice. Seal in a plastic and keep in the freezer until needed.
*Use edible flowers with caution. Not all flowers or all flower parts are edible. For more information visit “The ultimate guide to edible flowers”
Edible & Medicinal Flowers by Margaret Roberts (David Phillips Publishers)