Edible flowers

Fix Your Plate by Tara Reeves

Spring isn’t just about colourful blooms bursting outside. It’s also a time for fresh, delicious food! But have you ever thought about adding the flowers themselves to your meals? Believe it or not, many flowers are edible and surprisingly tasty, adding a touch of beauty and flavour to your spring dishes.

Picture a salad sprinkled with colourful pansies and violets. Their delicate petals wouldn’t just look pretty, they’d also add a hint of sweetness to every bite. Or how about a refreshing glass of lemonade infused with fragrant lavender sprigs? The subtle floral aroma and hint of herb is a nice twist on the classic summer drink. Edible flowers are a way to elevate your spring dishes, transforming them into something beautiful to look at and eat.

Of course, you can’t just pick any flower from your garden and chow down. Just like some houseplants can make your pet sick, some flowers are best left alone. Stick to varieties specifically identified as edible. Look for these at your local farmers market or a garden centre specialising in edible plants. Talk to the experts, ask questions, and let them guide you through the wonderful world of edible flowers.

Here are some popular and easy-to-find edible flowers to get you started:

Pansies and Violas: These beautiful little flowers come in a wide range of colours and have a mild, sweet flavour. They’re perfect for sprinkling on salads, cakes, or even garnishing beverages.

Nasturtiums: These vibrant blooms with a peppery kick can be chopped and used as a colourful confetti over pasta dishes or crudités with a creamy dip. Nasturtium leaves are also edible and have a similar peppery taste.

Borage Blossoms: With their star-shaped appearance and refreshing cucumber-like flavour, borage blossoms can be used as a garnish or steeped in beverages for a unique twist.

Lavender: These fragrant purple flowers boast a subtle floral flavour and calming aroma. Use them to infuse honey, sugar, or even dress up a simple fruit salad.

Edible flowers are more than just decoration; they’re a way to celebrate the beauty of spring on your plate. You’ll be sure to impress any dinner guest when they discover a hidden pansy in their salad, or experience the delightful fragrance that fills the air with a batch of homemade rose petal tea. Edible flowers are an invitation to explore new flavours and create unforgettable meals.

Let your creativity blossom alongside the flowers, and discover the hidden flavours waiting to be explored in your kitchen. After all, beauty isn’t just for looking at: sometimes, it’s meant to be tasted too!

Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar (adjust according to taste)
2–3 tablespoons dried lavender buds (make sure they are food-grade)

Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and the granulated sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. This will create a simple syrup. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

2. In a large pitcher, combine the freshly squeezed lemon juice, the remaining 3 cups of water, and the cooled simple syrup.

3. Place the dried lavender buds in a tea infuser or a small piece of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine. Place the infuser or bundle in the pitcher with the lemonade mixture.

4. Refrigerate the lavender lemonade for at least 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to infuse.

5. Before serving, remove the lavender infuser or bundle from the pitcher.

6. Serve the lavender lemonade over ice and garnish with fresh lavender sprigs or lemon slices, if desired.