It’s been some time since the last guest writer came to my blog with an article… Today I revive the tradition, allowing a good friend to benefit from the space of this blog and my audience. My friend wanted to hide behind a pseudonym, so I’ll respect that. The article being shared below is quite out of the box – Edible Flowers – and I like that. You can continue to follow SecretDiets on WordPress – https://secretdiets.wordpress.com – but also on Facebook and Twitter. As usual, this blogpost will be permanently available in the “guest writing” section of my Writing page. Enjoy!
(c) Copyright – secretdiets.wordpress.com
The flowers have been used in the kitchen since ancient times: rose petals were popular in Asia, especially India, violets in the Roman times. Edible flowers were very appreciated in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign. Their tradition comes as far as nowadays, when chefs use them to add colour, flavor and perfume to their dishes. A very important thing to remember is that not every flower is edible!
Flowers are a natural vegetal source of food, because they contain valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes) for our health. Here are some of the most popular edible flowers.
1. Rose (Rosa centifolia): is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), bioflavonoids, antioxidants. Rose petals are used in desserts, jams, tea. All roses are edible, darker varieties having a more pronounced flavor.
2. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): is rich in vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), flavonoids, glucosides, phytosterols, fatty acids. The chamomile flowers contain an essential oil that has a high content of camazulene and bisabolol (natural anti-inflammatory agents). It has anti-inflammatory, relaxing, anti-allergy, local anesthetic, antiseptic, emollient and cicatrizing properties. Chamomile flowers are used in tea, salads and soups.
3. Lavander (Lavandula angustifolia): is rich in vitamin A, calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), essential oils such as linaool, geraniol, nerol, lavandulol and borneol, phytochemicals such as tannins, coumarins, pectins and resins. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system. The flowers are sweet, spicy and perfumed, being a great addition to savory and sweet dishes.
4. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis): is rich in vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, antioxidants, flavonoids, beta-carotene and minerals, especially potassium (K). The plant is entirely edible, being used in salads, pasta, rice, tea, steamed.
5. Squash (Cucurbita maxima): is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg). Squash and pumpkin blossoms may be used in salads, as tempura, or stuffed with herbs, cheese, ricotta or any other stuffing that you may like.
6. Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana): is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, essential oils, salicylic compounds and tannins. It boosts the immunity system. The flowers are used in fruit salads, desserts and are highly decorative.
7. Marigold (Calendula officinalis): is rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids, essential oils, resins. It is very well known for its cicatrizing properties, speeding up the healing and regeneration of tissues. The flowers are used in salads, soups, rice, with fish or in drinks.
8. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus): is rich in vitamin C, lycopene, lutein, glucosides, erucic acid. It is considered to be a natural antibiotic. Due to the lutein content it is also an important eye health protector. It is used in salads, juices, stuffed, for garnishing or as pickled buds used like capers.
9. Violets (Viola odorata): are rich in rutin, resins, numerous essential oils, violamine (a natural dye), acetylsalicylic acid, natural sugars and mineral substances. Due to the acetylsalicylic acid content, these flowers are known to have active antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Violets are used in salads, jellies, tea, candied, to garnish desserts and drinks.
10. Lilac (Syringa vulgaris): is rich in starch, resins, tannins, glucosides, natural sugars (sucrose), invertine and syringing. It is also called “the flower of memory”; people say that when it is smelled, its fragrance brings back lost memories that can be remembered in the smallest details. The flowers are used in salads, summer punch, sweet drinks, tea, desserts, yogurt, for garnishing.
Other edible flowers are: Allium (all blossoms from the Allium family: leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives are edible), Angelica, Agastache (Anise or licorice mint), Acacia flowers, Apple blossom, Arugula, Basil, Bachelor’s button, wild Bergamot (Bee balm), Begonia, Borage, Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat), Chervil, Cherry blossom, Chicory, Chrysanthemum, Cilantro, Clover, Cornflower, day Lilies, Dianthus (Carnations) , Dill, English Daisy, Fennel, Fuchsia, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Honeysuckle, Gladiolus, Impatiens, Jasmine, Johnny-Jump-Up, Lemon Bergamot, Mint, Pea, Perennial Phlox, Peony, Primrose, Oregano, Queen Anne’s Lace (the wild carrot), Radish, Rosemary, Safflower, Scarlet Runner Bean, Sage, Sorrel, Snapdragon Flower, Sunflower, Tulip, Lemon Verbena, Yucca.
Tips for selecting and preparing edible flowers
– learn which flowers are edible and which flowers are poisonous;
– identify exactly the flower and eat only the edible parts of it;
– do not eat flowers on which pesticides were used or flowers from the flower shop;
– never harvest flowers growing by the roadside or from public gardens;
– never eat the flowers unless you know their source;
– do not eat the flowers if you suffer from asthma or some kind of allergy;
– always remove the stamens and pistil of the flowers; eat just the petals;
– remember to use small quantities of flowers in your recipes to avoid digestive complications;
– remember that most flowers have a taste that is similar to a leaf, but a bit spicier;
– pregnant women should avoid eating flowers during their pregnancy;
– ask the pediatrician before giving edible flowers to your child;
– if you don’t eat the flowers immediately after harvesting them, then keep them in the freezer in a paper towel.