Enjoying herbs, fruits and vegetables picked straight from the garden and on to your plate is a taste like nothing else. But how about flowers? Flowers give delicate flavor and a pop of color to any recipe be it salads, side dishes, desserts, or beverages.
As long as you follow the practice of knowing what flowers are safe to eat in regard to toxicity as well as growing methods that exclude pesticides or residual treatments, the garden is your grocery store! To put your mind at ease, simply grow your own edible flowers or find them at garden markets or specialty produce stores.
Most culinary creations can be taken to the next level simply by adding a blossom here or a sprinkle of petals there.
Herbs that have flowered may have an altered, bitter taste when it comes to their leaves, but the flowers are still prime for the picking! Add mint flowers to your favorite tea or sprinkle on a Greek salad. Chive flowers make a lovely garnish on soups or vegetables. For a different spin on chive flowers, try making an infused vinegar. Cilantro flowers are a milder version of the leaves. Use when you want a hint of the cilantro flavor without overpowering the dish.
A garden party wouldn’t be complete without a signature cocktail with a flower garnish. Pretty up any beverage with a violet or rose garnish. The sweet aroma of freshly picked flowers entices the senses as you take your first sip. Sweet notes from a honeysuckle bloom can be amplified when paired with neutral spirits such as vodka or gin. Freezing flowers in ice cubes trays is another way to incorporate flowers in your favorite cool summer drink.
Zucchini squash blossoms are a special treat since they have to be harvested and cooked immediately to get the full experience. Squash blossoms taste similar to the vegetable and can be prepared in a variety of methods. A classic preparation is to stuff or fry the blossoms. You can also keep it simple by steaming them or incorporating them in lighter fare such as salads and egg dishes. Don’t stop at squash, you can also enjoy other blossoms from the cucurbit family such as melons and cucumbers.