How and what to grow for delicious edible flowers
I hear people say all the time "if I can't eat it, we don't grow it." In my mind I see rows and rows of vegetables and no flowers anywhere. It makes me sad.
Sad because flowers play such an important role in our gardens and are a necessary part of a healthy garden Eco system.
Sad too because we sometimes jump to the conclusion that flowers either aren't edible or to eat them you need to have some fancy cooking skills.
Edible Flowers For Your Garden
Flowers have been used since Roman times either as a garnish or as an integral part of the meal. References to their use is found in Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese cultures. They were even popular in Victorian times.
Edible flowers have recently regained popularity in the culinary world and why not? With their powerful and unique flavours, textures and colours and endless uses edible flowers really are an amazing ingredient. Flowers can be added to foods to provide taste, aroma, and colour. They can be part of a main dish, a salad, or a dessert. They can be added as a garnish. Flowers can be incorporated into nearly everything - baking, sauces, jelly, syrup, vinegars, honey, tea, oil, candied flowers and even wine and flavoured liquors.
There are, however, a few important rules to observe when consuming flowers: Don't expect the flowers you buy from the florist, supermarket, markets are safe to eat. Most flowers may contain pesticide residue. The pesticides used on flowers from non-organic sources has generally
not been assessed to determine their safety on food. Always try to grow your own organically. Some flowers are safe to eat only in small amounts. Allergy sufferers it is best to be cautious, as with all other foods, and not eat flowers as they may cause an allergic reaction. This may be caused by sensitivity to pollen. Some flowers, although they may look and smell divine, (such as sweet peas) are actually poisonous. Do your research first. The Internet is a good source of information about safe edible flowers.
For the best flavour, try to pick your flowers in the morning on day of use. Wilted and faded flowers, and the unopened buds of most species, can be distasteful. Some flowers can be used whole, while others it is best just to use the petals (like sunflowers) as stamens can be quite bitter.
Always wash the flowers just before you use them. Try dunking them in a bowl of water and pat dry.Always keep in the fridge in a container with no holes as the flowers can get easily ruined being exposed to air for long periods of time.
What flowers to grow
Most herb flowers are edible and may have the taste of the herb itself – chives, garlic, leeks , basil, rocket, borage, chervil, coriander, fennel, ginger, English lavender, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Vegetable flowers commonly used are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, okra, radish and squash and zucchini.Some of the ornamental flowers to grow are calendula, roses, violas, pansies, marigold, nasturium, dianthus, freesia, stocks and cornflowers.
A simple easy way to start your edible flower food journey is to make ice cubes containing edible flowers . When the ice melts in your drink you still have the beautiful flower to enjoy.
So go on turn your edible garden into a flowering oasis
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