Monday, July 16, 2012

Flowers as Food Part II: Presentation ideas

By Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM , L. Ac

I hope my last post piqued your interest and had you investigating the edibles in your front yard. How many did you find?  Upon inspection, I realized I currently have more than 17 types of edible flowers in my small space alone. This number does not include herbs!  A mentioned in my previous  post , the use of flowers in current trends is one of novelty . I thought I would provide several “starter“ ideas , most centering around food presentation that may begin your  utilization of flowers as food.
Some of the edibles from my flower garden!
Gladiolas- Have a tart taste and while edible are best used for presentation purposes. Pick individual flowers  early in the morning . Wash the flowers gently, pat them dry and place into a moistened plastic bag with a little air space left in it. Put the bag into the fridge being sure not to crush them !  Remove the flowers a few minutes before you need them and dip into ice-cold water to freshen them. Remove the stamens before filling the flowers with your favorite salsa or dip ! I love presenting peach or mango based salsa in a bright  red gladiola !
Gladiola "bowl" stuffed with peach mango salsa

Dandelions- You can make several wonderful uses of this common "pest" .When serving a rice dish, use  cleaned dandelion petals like confetti over the rice. Please be cautious if you are allergic!

Carnations (Dianthus) - are surprisingly sweet one the bitter white bas of the flower is removed.  Said to have a clove or nutmeg like flavor they can be sprinkled over rice or salad. An interesting bit of trivia, carnation petals are one of secret ingredients used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur!

Nasturtiums- my personal favorite! The leaves of this flower are spicy and watercress like. They come in a variety of colors and if the flowers are “deadheaded” they can produce all season long. I have found that the flowers can be stuffed with flavored cream cheese or ricotta. They can also be used to present guacamole. Just be sure to remove the stamen of the flower.   These flowers are a lovely substitute for the harvesting of zucchini blossoms which can limit the production of zucchinis. The leaves can also be used in a fashion similar to grape leaves as well. Recipes are to follow in my next installment!


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