Edible Flowers - Using Them Day to Day

Whenever you ask most people about flowers, they will probably talk to you about how good they would look in a garden or vase on a window ledge or mantelpiece. However, many types and species of flower have more going for them than just looks. Many of them can be used for culinary purposes, with some rather pleasant results. Many herbs, fruits and vegetables are officially flowers, although they have been used in recipes for centuries and are widely recognised as being part of cuisines worldwide.

 Photo courtesy of Parvin

Zucchini (courgette)
Artichoke, orange, lemon, lime, parsley and basil are, to many people’s surprise, actually flowers. However, it’s the more obscure ones that are perceived to only have ornamental qualities that are growing in popularity because they work as either a standalone ingredient or as an integral part of a salad, dessert, sauce or even drink.


Elderflower
Elderflower is one such plant which features heavily in modern cuisine, most notably drinks. Its sweet, delicate taste goes well when paired with something tart or sharper like pear, apple or lime. It works as part of a sweet cider, as the base of a cordial on its own or paired with another fruit or as part of a cocktail, but it can also be put to good use in desserts such as pies, jelly or even cheesecake. Elderflower isn’t the only edible flower which works well with desserts.

Roses
Roses are seen as something to give as a present to a loved one in the form of Interflora flowers, but they are becoming more popular as part of a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. Rose hips work well in sauces, while rose petals can add a splash of colour and flavour to a light, summery salad. Candied rose petals, coated in egg white and sugar to help them keep for longer, are perfect for decorating a vanilla cheesecake.

Violets
Violets work just as well for decorating cakes of all descriptions, no matter if it’s a huge wedding cake or a small cupcake coated with frosting, as long as they’re candied. Violet leaves and petals also work well in salads, with their sweet scent and delicate taste adding an extra dimension to help tantalise your taste buds.

Edible flowers work really well in a variety of dishes. Whether they’re part of a salad, used as a flourish for an indulgent dessert or to make a cold summer drink taste a little bit sweeter, they can brighten up mealtime.

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