Flowers aren’t only decorative but the edible ones can also pretty up your meal while adding some distinctive, refreshing twist to them. They’re also full of minerals like heart-healthy potassium and antioxidants such as flavonoids, which help to boost your immune system. Of course, some blooms are toxic. Look for petals specifically meant for cooking; you can find them at specialty supermarkets, or even in your garden. And don’t eat flowers from the florist as most of them have been chemically treated. Chef Miche Bacher, author of Cooking With Flowers, gets you started with four fun ideas.
1. Pansy/Rose Petals
Pansy is a herb that grows in the wild all over Europe and North America. Lucky for us, Pansies can be found here too. In ancient times, pansies are used to treat a number of health problems due to anti-microbial properties of the phenolic glycosides (a component of plants) in the pansy plant. It also has antioxidant properties found in flavonoids. To truly reap it’s benefits, toss pansy or rose petals with your greens to add sweetness to your salad. Some types of roses, especially darker ones, can be super sweet; if you use these, include onions to balance the flavours.
In ancient Greek, the Dianthus plant is known as “the flower of God.” This is because it tends to emit a hauntingly sweet fragrance that can be smelled at a distance of a few hundred feet, instantly calming and relaxing those who are close enough to smell it. As a Chinese herb, the Dianthus plant have long been used to treat various health concerns such as urinary system problems. To get a taste of this divine flower, add it to fried rice (they taste like cloves) to lend a note of earthiness. Slice up some orchids too; its texture is similar to iceberg lettuce, for added crunch in steamed rice dishes or even salad and smoothies.
These sunny, exotic-looking little flowers originated from South America and were widely used by the Meso-Americans to treat urinary tract infections, kidney problems and such. The peppery leaves were very popular as it helps add flavour to a dish and the seeds were a prized delicacy. It’s also the perfect flower to grow as a beginner as it doesn’t require that much tending to. To make your own delicacy, chop up some peppery nasturtiums and stir them into salsas for an extra kick that’ll compliment the jalapenos nicely.
4. Rose petals
This iconic flower is known to exert a positive effect on the body, mind and also skin and has been used for beneficial purposes for hundreds of years. Some of it’s benefits include de-stressing the mind, treating acne naturally, flushes out toxins from the body and also lightening the colour of the lips! Plus, it looks pretty on almost anything so why not use it to dress up your dessert? As a start, top ice-creams with rose petals (they pair particularly well with coffee flavored ice-creams). You can also mix pansy or rose into your cake for a floral funfetti effect.