We all agree that flowers look beautiful, but what do they actually taste like? Adding flowers to recipes can add colour and taste to a plain dish.
They can be used as an edible garnish for salads, drinks and desserts and crystallised flowers can be used to decorate cakes.
The flower chart will give you some ideas on what flowers are edible, what they taste like and offer you some inspiration for your recipes. Lots of flowers are edible but it is always best to check that they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides before including them in your recipies.
There are also quite a few non-edible poisonous flowers so remember that you should never sprinkle non-edible flowers on someone’s plate as people might assume that they are edible and chemical free.
Almost any natural food store and gourmet market stock edible flowers but you can also buy them online.
Here are some of our favourite recipes so why not give them a try yourself …
- Good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp vinegar (balsamic or flavored)
- salt & pepper
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/2 juice of a lemon
- 1 egg
- chive flowers freshly cut and rinsed
- freshly made croutons
- Romain lettuce
- grated Parmesan
Wash the lettuce, spin dry, and cut small, wash the flowers and dry.
Make the sauce by whisking all the top ingredients, if you are concerned about using a raw egg, cut it out of the recipe.
In a bowl or on a serving plate, place all the other ingredients making sure that the chives flowers are positioned nicely and then dress sparingly.
- Couscous for 4
- Vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and heated as per the tin
- 10 cm piece of cucumber – halved, deseeded and diced
- 4 medium tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 6 dried apricots, diced
- Rose petals, to taste
- Rose bulbs, to decorate (optional)
Cook the couscous as per the instructions of the packaging, replacing water with the vegetable stock and adding the dried mint.
Once the couscous is cooked, fluff it up with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir it all up well.
Serve in individual bowls or on a large communal plate. If you want to, decorate with some Rose bulbs.
- One fresh male Banana inflorescence
- 1 kg medium sides potatoes
- 100 grams Seasame seed
- 1 teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
- Groundnut (peanuts)
- 3 medium sized Green chillies
- 3 tablespoon Cooking Oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
- Fresh mint sprigs for garnishing
Remove bracts of male banana inflorescence and pick out the developing mini bananas. These parts of the flower where the bananas have started to develop are to be discarded. Save these large colorful bracts to decorate the serving dish later on. Remove the bracts and developing fruit till the bract colour changes to a pale hue.
You will notice that the flowers are now on very tiny ovaries that will eventually develope into bananas. These are the flowers to save for the salad. Once you have gone through the process and gathered all the mature flowers soak them in water in a bowl.
Pick each flower and remove the pistil and tiny transluscent bract like structure (marked in pink in the photograph below).
Discard these. This is quite a time consuming job but well worth the effort. Wash the prepared flowers in clean water and boil till tender (approx 10 minutes). Throw away the water and gently squeeze the cooked banana flowers till all remaining water is drained. Spread the boiled banana flowers on paper towels to dry further.
Boil potatoes and skin and cut into half inch cubes.
Dry roast seasame seed and peanuts separately in a thick bottomed wok (a heavy frying pan will do) and dry grind (separately) in a food processor. The grinding should be to a fine consistency. While roasting these seeds make sure not to over do it and burn the seeds as this will give a burnt taste to the final salad.
Mix the cubed potatoes and boiled banana flowers in a dish. Add ground seasame seed and peanut, salt to taste and lime juice and mix well.
In a small pan add cooking oil and heat well till the oil starts smoking. Add fenugreek seed, chopped chillies and turmeric powder. Stir till fenugreek seed turns black. Quickly pour this mixture on top of the salad and mix well.The Banana Flower Salad is now ready to serve.
Attention: While working with a banana inflorescence please use gloves. The cut surfaces exudes a sap which turns black on exposure to air. It will stick on to your hands and also table tops and linen. This sap is harmless but takes some time to get rid of. Another way to prevent the stains on body parts is to smear cooking oil on your hands before working on the flowers.
Simply tare the flowers and toss them with the rest of the salad (rocket, basil, lollo rosso, tomato, cucumber) before adding some Buxlow Wonmil cheese and drizzling with a little oil. The flowers aren’t particularly strong in flavour but they add a both a different colour and texture to the salad. They are curiously soft yet slightly crunchy at the same time and a good addition. Read more here
- 2 pieces of salmon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
- 1 large courgette, diced
- 200g basmati rice
- 400ml vegetable stock, hot
- a large handful of wild garlic, roughly chopped
Sprinkle some oregano leaves and freshly ground black pepper onto the salmon. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and oregano until the onion begins to soften. Add the courgette and stir regularly while this cooks. Don’t let the heat get too high – the onions will begin to caramelise but the courgette should not go too soft.
Put the basmati rice and stock into a saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. This should take about 10 minutes which is the same time it takes for the onion and courgette mix to finish cooking. Take the cooked rice off the heat and stir in the wild garlic and courgettes. Cover and leave to one side while you fry your salmon – might take less than 5 minutes.
For the pastry
- 225g plain flour
- 110g Butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
For the filling
- 2 large Parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 pinch ground Ginger
- 1 pinch Mixed spice
- 2 Lemons, juice and zest
- 1 egg yolks
For the glaze
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 1 tsp Sugar
For the meringue
- 2 egg whites
- 50g Sugar
1. Set the oven to 190C/gas 5.
2. Put all the ingredients for the pastry into a food processor and whiz to form a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Cook the parsnips in a large pan of boiling unsalted water, and then drain and mash. Leave to cool for five minutes.
4. Put the mashed parsnips into a bowl and add the honey, spices, lemon juice and zest and the egg yolk. Mix well.
5. Roll two thirds of the pastry out to line the tart tin.
6. Bake the pastry blind for 20 minutes, until light golden and crisp.
7. Spoon the parsnip mixture into the pastry case.
8. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into five millimetre strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern over the filling.
9. Cut off the strips at the edge to neaten, but don’t worry too much as the edges will be covered by meringue.
10. Mix together the glaze and brush over the pastry. Place back into the oven for 15 minutes.
11. Five minutes before you remove the pie, whisk up the egg whites until stiff. Add two teaspoons of sugar from the measured amount and whisk again. When stiff, fold in the remaining sugar.
12. Remove the pie from the oven and spoon fluffy clouds of meringue around the edge of the pie.
13. Place back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
14. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes.
15. Place a primrose flower in between each square of lattice and serve warm with cream.
(Makes 28. You may have leftover egg salad.)
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
- 1 tablespoon softened butter, plus more for the toast
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 28 freshly picked nasturtium blossoms (Do not wash!)
- 28 toast rounds
Combine egg yolks and butter in a medium bowl; mash well with fork. Finely chop egg whites and add to yolks. Stir together mayonnaise, curry powder and mustard in a small bowl; stir into egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)
Just before serving, spread toast rounds very lightly with butter. Fill each blossom with a scant teaspoonful of egg salad and place one filled blossom on each toast round. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Choose flowers which haven’t been chemically treated
- Petals of one Sunflower, chopped
- Petals of one Rose, chopped
- 10 leaves of Mint, chopped
- 2 peaches, diced
- 50g of raspberries
- 20 red grapes, chopped in half
In bowl, mix the fruits and the flowers. Spread with some rose and sunflower petals. Ready to serve!
- One batch of pancake mix (using Nigella Lawson’s recipe)
- A few stems of fresh lavender from your garden – English lavender will work best
- Honey to serve
In creating a recipe for ready-made pancake mix, Nigella Lawson has saved us all some trouble: you make up a batch of the dry ingredients, and then when you wake up on a weekend morning you simply have to mix in a little egg, milk and butter.
It’s at this point that you can add the lavender: use around one teaspoon of chopped lavender for every 150g of pancake mix. Remove the flowers and discard the stalks – you may also wish to chop the flowers into smaller pieces (this will make them easier to eat, and it will also release more of the lavender fragrance into your pancakes).
Cook your pancakes according to Nigella’s instructions, and then drizzle some fresh honey over them when you serve them – if you’re lucky you’ll be able to find some locally-produced lavender honey.
- 4 cups chopped dandelion leaves
- 2 cups dandelion flower petals
- 2 cups dandelion buds
- 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped wild leeks (or onions)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups half-n-half or heavy cream
- 2 tsp salt
1. Gently boil dandelion leaves in 6 cups water. Pour off bitter water. Boil gently a second time, pour off bitter water.
2. In a heavy-bottom soup pot, sauté wild leeks and garlic in butter or olive oil until tender.
3. Add 4 cups water.
4. Add dandelion leaves, flower petals, buds, and salt.
5. Simmer gently 45 minutes or so.
6. Add cream and simmer a few minutes more.
7. Garnish with flower petals.
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