Edible flowers have been gracing our plates for centuries, and their popularity in the culinary world has only been growing in recent years. They can turn an ordinary dish into a work of art with their vibrant colors and unique flavors. From salads to desserts, drinks, and more, here are the best 6 culinary uses of edible flowers you need to try.
Using edible flowers in salads
One of the simplest and most traditional ways to use edible flowers is in salads. They add a pop of color and a unique taste that can elevate your salad to a whole new level. Some popular choices for salads include nasturtiums, chive blossoms, and calendula. They all have distinctive flavors, from the peppery taste of nasturtiums to the sweet, honey-like flavor of calendula.
Cooking with edible flowers: Main dishes
Flowers can also be a great addition to main dishes. For example, squash blossoms are a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, often stuffed with cheese and deep-fried. Similarly, daylilies can be used in stir-fries, while the vibrant red hibiscus flowers are often used in Burmese and Mexican cuisine.
Edible flowers in desserts
Edible flowers can make your desserts look stunning and add an unexpected flavor. Lavender is a favorite in baking for its aromatic and slightly sweet flavor. It pairs beautifully with lemon in cakes and cookies. Similarly, rose petals can be used in a variety of desserts, from ice creams to pastries, giving them a delicate floral taste.
Edible flowers for garnishing
If you're looking to impress with your presentation, edible flowers can be your best ally. Pansies, violets, and borage flowers are all excellent choices for garnishing, thanks to their bright colors and mild flavors. They can be used to decorate everything from soups to pastas and desserts.
Edible flowers in drinks
From cocktails to teas, edible flowers can add a touch of sophistication to your beverages. The sweet, cucumber-like taste of borage flowers makes them a great addition to gin-based cocktails, while the tart flavor of hibiscus goes well in teas and lemonades.
Infusing oils and vinegars with edible flowers
Infusing oils and vinegars with edible flowers is a great way to harness their flavors. Rosemary flowers can infuse olive oil with a subtle aroma, perfect for drizzling over bread or salads. Similarly, chive blossoms can create a beautiful pink vinegar with a mild onion flavor, great for vinaigrettes.
Here's a handy table summarizing the best flowers for each use:
Edible flowers can truly elevate your cooking, both in taste and presentation. However, it's important to remember that not all flowers are edible and some can be poisonous. Always make sure to use flowers that have been grown organically and are safe to eat.