Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our local farmers market is brimming with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables perfect for peeling, chopping, and flavoring our favorite dishes. While our tasty ingredients may be at the peak of ripeness, there is an unlikely addition we are beginning to not only garnish these culinary creations with, but pair with our spring and summer plates. Edible flowers add color and artistry to an entree and add a unique flavor and texture that will compliment the other fixings of your recipe!

We love how these blossoms, both delicate and bold, create interest and add flavor to an array of dishes! Some of our favorite tasty edible flowers include:

Calendula: produces a tangy and peppery taste. The petals are wonderful for sprinkling in flavorful soups and salads.

Carnations: has a peppery, spicy flavor. Toss the petals over a fresh salad for an added kick!

Chive Blossoms: contains a slight onion and garlic flavor that is perfect for mixing in pasta and salads.

Gardenia: has a light sweetness. These pretty flowers make a lovely and colorful addition to dessert recipes.

Hibiscus: features a fruity, citrus flavor which is great for brewing exotic teas.

Jasmine: has a distinct sweetness that is commonly used in teas and sweet treats. 

Johnny-Jump-Ups: produces a minty flavor. These flowers can be made into jam, combined with other dishes, and can even be mixed to make cider!

Lavender: features an unmistakable floral sweetness. It is commonly used in decadent desserts and beverages like flavored lemonade.  

Lilac: contains a strong lemony floral flavor that can be a delightful and tasty garnish on a cupcake or any dessert of choice!  

Marigold: has a slight lemon flavor with a hint of spice. Use it to make a savory dressing or toss it directly into a salad.

Nasturtiums: produces a strong peppery flavor. These can be sauteed and added to a summery main dish with chicken and vegetables.

Squash Blossoms: feature a slight squash flavor that is perfect for baking or frying and adding to an array of dishes- everything from pasta to quesadillas!

Violets: are both sweet and floral. These are perfect for freezing in ice cubes or homemade popsicles for a stunning treat!

There are so many varieties of flowers suitable for cooking! The possibilities are endless- from crafting botanical treats to infusing dressings and syrups, edible flowers are a must-try for your next spring recipe. To see a complete list of edible flowers and a brief note on their flavor, visit this page

Many of these blossoms are easily found at a local gardening store and can be added to a lush garden or in a small pot near a window. In addition to a selection of fresh blossoms ready to be mixed in with your next recipe, you'll have a colorful selection of florals to gaze upon. If you’re lacking a green thumb or space for a small garden to grow your own selection of flowers for cooking, you can also purchase edible blossoms! When buying edible flowers, it is best to get flowers that are grown free of pesticides and chemicals; we recommend discussing the history of your bouquet with any vendors you purchase from. Many home-grown florets can be found at organic shops and farmers markets! There are even online resources where you can have edible flowers shipped straight to your door.

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When cooking with edible flowers, always look up the specific flower you are adding to your plate before you begin cooking. Some flowers require their petals or stems to be removed in order to have their flavors flourish. Cooking with flowers isn’t only about adding unique flower to a recipe- it is also about creativity and artistry! Embrace innovation by using petals instead of sprinkles on a batch of cupcakes, adding blossoms to an oven-baked pizza, or mixing an assortment of colorful florals into a sauteed stir fry.  Whether you’re discretely mixing lavender into a batter or covering a cake in purple and yellow candied pansies, your creation will not only be something to savor, but a work of art! 

Explore our blog to learn more about the language of flowers or how to make your own paper flowers to complement your culinary crafts!