With the current hysteria over crop shortages in the lettuce world, many people have been considering growing- and eating- other types of green stuff. But, have you considered trying some yellows, reds, blues and purples.. I’d like to welcome you to the hidden world of edible flowers! Here are my 5 favourites (you can click on the plant to buy it!)
ONE. Begonias. The citrussy crunch of a Begonia petal is really quite something. Choose one of the (quite hard to get hold of) fragrant varieties for the best, perfumed flavour. Although, just a sprinkling on your cakes and salads for fun is enough, too much and the oxalic acid might repeat on you…! (Treat with caution if you have any medical condition)
TWO. Tulips. Another petal with some bite! Tulip blooms come in every colour of the rainbow, and are edible, as are the bulbs (which were actually pickled in poorer times in the Netherlands!) It’s suggested that you can stuff them with either a sweet or savoury filling, the petal will add a punch of colour and a gentle pea-like flavour. As with begonias though, they may not be suitable for everyone, so don’t go overboard!
THREE. Pansies. Would you believe that a small Pansy actually contains Vitamins A and C? The texture is substantial, and they would make a nice colourful addition to a salad, so you don’t only have to rely on tomatoes for that these days! Pansy blooms can also be crystallised and used to top cupcakes, now that’s very Instagram! Pansies are also a well known edible bloom, so feel free to sprinkle them generously.
FOUR. English Marigolds. It’s time to cut back on your saffron budget, guys! English Marigolds (Calendula) are a tried and tested edible bloom, which can do exactly the same job as saffron, colouring up rice a treat! The vibrant petals have a spicy flavour and would work well in savoury or fruit salads, I reckon!
FIVE. Primroses. An excellent spring tonic, why not add Primrose florets to cakes, pancakes and the like! As with Pansies, they are a popular edible bloom and can be crystallised and used as ‘cake art’! The blooms taste slightly sweet and will certainly get your friends talking!
I hope I’ve inspired you to try some of these blooms during your next session in the kitchen! I love the subject of unusual edible flowers, so I’m sure it won’t be too long before I prepare another article on the matter. Just wait until I get started on Gladioli, Camellias and Peonies…!
The 5 flowers discussed above have numerous references in paper and online as to their edible qualities. However, although classed as ‘edible’, any unusual edible flower could cause adverse reaction in some people, so please do take care.