The answer to that is: YES, you 100% can. Not all of them, but more than you might expect. And you don’t just have to stick to your everyday home-grown herbs, as you can opt for the more aesthetically pleasing floral treats that you may not have known are genuinely edible. We don’t tend to associate a pretty flower bouquet with something that goes on our plate; but you’d be surprised which flowers you really can eat. The petals and heads are usually the only part of the flower that are traditionally used when being accompanied with food, making beautiful additions to salads, cakes and even cocktails.
These edible flowers can be the best kept secret of a truly delicious and aromatic salad. Floral salads may be a shock to the system at first glance for some, but when given the chance they can really add an alternative and often sweet flavour to a well-prepared, hearty salad. So what really are the best flowers to add to your salad? Violets and violas are a great place to start when picking floral additions to a salad dish. The best results are with freshly picked/bought flowers, chilled in the fridge for at least an hour. A quick optional recipe you could try is to add the violets and violas to a bed of lettuce, rocket and chopped tomatoes, with a drizzle of olive oil/balsamic vinegar and seasoned. These flowers are a beautiful yet tasty addition to a simple summer salad.
However edible floral decorations are not just limited to pretty salads. Just as non-edible flowers are often used to decorate wedding cakes, edible flowers are an equal contender as a beautiful addition to any multi or single-tiered cake. The fact they are edible means not only are they safe to eat, the flowers themselves don’t go to waste and do a great job in adding a splash of colour and texture, as well as a delicate flavour. Roses, primroses and alpine pinks make beautiful additions to any cakes, for a variety of summer celebrations.
A more ambitious way of decorating cakes is by crystallising the edible flowers. Although this takes a small amount of patience and a bit of experimentation, the end results are undoubtedly worth it and the steps are simple:
What you’ll need:
- Egg whites
- Castor sugar
- Grease-proof paper
How to do it:
- Separate the egg whites from the yolk. Whisk lightly for roughly 5-10 seconds.
- Dip a small paint brush into the egg whites and finely coat both sides of the flower & try not to miss the petal edges.
- Place the wet flower on a sheet of grease-proof paper. Take a pinch of the castor sugar and sprinkle all over the flower, and leave to dry for 24hrs.
- Make sure the flower is placed front face down.
- You have beautifully crystallised flowers!
And last, but certainly not least, is the simple and quick way to celebrate these edible flowers by using them in a cocktail. Most edible flowers will compliment a good cocktail, however there are a few that really catch the eye in the right way. Each flower brings its own desired vibe to a cocktail. To add a splice of flare, tiger lilies are an exciting addition; however violas, daisies and borage are a subtle and eloquent accompaniment to any summer cocktail. However these are only a few ideas for the many edible flowers out there to try. The beauty of these edible flowers goes far beyond just looking pretty; and they should definitely be on your to-do list of things to try out this summer.
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