From pastel pansy-pressed lollipops, to viola crepes and cornflower cocktails, it can be said that edible flower cuisine is a trend that is blossoming in the hottest restaurants and bars around the world.
In years past, you would see nasturtium and marigold flowers adorning green salads and consider it cutting edge. These days, the likes of dishes such as Beef Short Rib Hash and Poached Egg topped with Tiger Eye Pansies and Nasturtiums and Spring Lamb Tortellini with Wild Mustard Flowers, show just how far the edible flower trend has come, taking pretty petals to dizzying new heights.
If you are planning a wedding, event or special dinner party, consider a floral theme that carries through from your bridal bouquet, buttonholes, and table centrepieces; to your entree, main course, and dessert. Even your aperitif cocktail. The options are endless and excitingly edible.
The most important criteria when cooking with edible flowers is to ensure they have not been sprayed with pesticides and you wash them thoroughly before using. Commercial caterers will have access to safe produce, or if entertaining at home, you are likely to find many edible flowers in your garden (or your neighbour’s if you ask nicely!)
Our Top Five Edible Flowers
Also known as starflowers, borage have a mild, cucumber like taste. Great in salads, the purple flowers can also be candied or even battered and fried. They make a pretty purple garnish for summery drinks including smoothies and gin cocktails. We love this picture below of borage ravioli in-the- making. (1)
According to the UK’s edible flower shop, dried cornflower petals have a delicate clove-like flavour and vivid cobalt-blue colouring, perfect for decorating sweet or savoury food and cocktails. The petals have many uses, such as a natural food colouring and to make floral teas. The cobalt-blue cornflower petals also give off colour and aromas when infused in liquids. Try adding a pinch of cornflowers to a sugar syrup, and use for Italian meringues, marshmallows or cocktails. Or mix the cornflower with a little hot water, and then add icing sugar for a naturally-coloured, and delicately-flavoured frosting, according to www.souschef.co.uk .(2)
In addition to salads, nasturtiums can be chopped and used in lemon butter or mayonnaise. You can also use the leaves in potato soup and add the flowers to garnish. (3)
Chive blossoms possess a delicate onion flavour and can be used along with, or instead of, the chive stalks in a variety of dishes such as mash potato (for colour and flavour), or fried in a tempura batter as a delicious side dish.(4)
Pansies and Violets
Pansies and violets look great frozen inside ice cubes and add beautiful colour to summer salads. You can also make old fashioned violet syrup, candied pansies to decorate cakes, and even violet tea. Some say they have a minty flavour and can be used to make a delicious oil (5) to dress salads and fresh fish. They are also apparently high in Vitamin C and Iron!
There are so many fabulous and accessible edible flowers that work beautifully in both flower arrangements as well as exquisite cuisine and cocktails. Have you had any success cooking or baking with flower petals? We’d love to hear about it!
1. Six Edible Flowers You Can Find in the Garden http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2013/10/14/3868493.htm
2. Dried Cornflower http://www.souschef.co.uk/dried-cornflower.html
3. Six Edible Flowers You Can Find in the Garden http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2013/10/14/3868493.htm
4. Six Edible Flowers You Can Find in the Garden http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2013/10/14/3868493.htm
5. Gardenguides.com http://www.gardenguides.com/75111-edible-pansies.html