edible flowers

Edible Flowers

Violet

When deciding which flowers to plant in your yard- why not plant flowers that are also edible? That way they do double duty. They make your yard look beautiful and they can make your food look beautiful, too.

I cook a lot with flowers. I often add them to salads, infuse vinegars and make jelly with them. You can also use them to decorate cakes or other desserts, in salad dressings and marinades, floating in tropical cocktails, in punch bowls and in ice cubes.

Flowers can also top off dips, cheese, fruit trays and other appetizers, be used to make teas, infused in honey or mixed with soft cheese and spread on crackers or toast.

Add some to baked goods like quick breads, cookies and muffins or in yogurt, cottage cheese or sorbet. Wherever your food needs a little color or flavor, flowers make it special.

Below are 2 lists- one of edible flowers- the other a list of flowers that are poisonous. I would be remiss if I didn’t caution you about flowers that are not edible. Be sure to get a positive identification of any flower before you eat it. Only eat flowers that have been grown pesticide free.

Some Edible Flowers

Calendula, Chives, Daylily, Mint, Nasturtium, Pansy, Rose, Sage, Signet Marigold, Squash Blossoms, Anise Hyssop, Apple, Arugula, Basil, Bee Balm, Borage, Broccoli, Chamomile, Chicory, Chrysanthemum, Coriander, Dandelion, Dianthus, Dill, Elderberry, English Daisy, Evening Primrose, Fennel, Garlic Chives, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Hyssop, Jasmine, Johnny-Jump-Up, Lavender, Lemon, Lilac, Linden, Marjoram, Mustard, Nasturtiums, Nodding Onion, Okra, Orange, Oregano, Pea, Pineapple Guava, Pineapple Sage, Radish, Red Clover, Redbud, Rose of Sharon, Roselle, Rosemary, Runner Beans, Sage, Safflower, Scented Geraniums, Shungiku, Society Garlic, Sunflower, Sweet Woodruff, Thyme, Tuberous Begonia, Tulip, Violet, Winter Savory, Yucca

Some Poisonous Flowers

Aconite, Anemone, Anthurium, Atamasco Lily, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Baneberry, Black Locust, Bloodroot, Boxwood, Burning Bush, Buttercup, Butterfly Weed, Caladium, Call, Carolina Jasmine, Castor Bean, Cherry Laurel, Chinaberry, Christmas Rose, Clematis, Daffodil, Deadly Nightshade, Death Camas, Delphinium, Dogbane, Dumbcane, Elephant Ears, False Hellebore, Four O’clock, Foxglove, Gloriosa Lily, Golden Chain Tree, Goldenseal, Heavenly Bamboo, Henbane, Horse Chestnut, Horse Nettle, Hyacinth, Hyacinth Bean, Hydrangea, Iris, Ivy, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Jerusalem Cherry, Jessamine, Jetbead, Jimsonweed, Jonquil, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Lantana, Larkspur, Leopard’s Bane, Lily of the Valley, Lobelia, Marsh Marigold, May Apple, Mescal Bean, Mistletoe, Morning Glory, Mountain Laurel, Nightshade, Oleander, Periwinkle, Philodendron, Pittosporum, Poison Hemlock, Potato, Privet, Rhododendron, Rock Poppy, Schefflera, Spring Adonis, Spurge, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Pea, Tobacco, Trumpet Flower, Water Hemlock, Wild Cherry, Wisteria, Yellow Allamanda, Yellow Oleander, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Neither of these lists in meant to be complete. Most important of all is to be sure you can identify these plants. If you are unsure plant identifications can be done at your local Extension office, garden center, nursery, arboretum and botanical garden. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. There are more than enough easy to identify flowers out there to enjoy without taking chances.

 

Lilac Jelly

Lilac Jelly

This time of year, I always gather lilacs and make lilac vinegar with them. It’s easy to do. You just put lilac blossoms in a jar and cover them with vinegar. I use a cup of vinegar for every cup of flowers. I let the mixture steep for a week or longer and then strain out the blossoms. Any 5% strength vinegar works fine. I kind of like apple cider vinegar.

I decided to use some of this mixture to make jelly this year. The color of the vinegar is a light pink color. The cooking process changed it somewhat and it came out a light honey color. Very pretty. By using vinegar as the base, the jelly has a nice combination of tartness with the sweet. I could see using it on toast or as a glaze for meats.

You can use the same recipe for violets and roses.

Lilac Jelly

3 1/2 cups lilac vinegar

1/2 c. lemon juice

1 package powdered pectin

5 c. sugar

Wash and prep jars and get water bath heating up. Place violet vinegar in pan and add lemon juice and pectin. Bring mixture to a rolling boil over high heat. Add sugar and return to the boil. Stir often. Once mixture gets to a full rolling boil, boil 1 minute. Remove jelly from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle hot liquid into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for 4 oz. and 8 oz. jars. Remove jars to cooling rack and check seals once they have cooled down. Yield: about 7 half pint jars or  13-14  (4 oz.) jars.

100 Dandelion Blossom Muffins

100 Dandelion Blossom Muffins

I was teaching a class on cooking with honey. I made these muffins. Since dandelions are blooming now, it seemed like a good choice for last night. The class really enjoyed them.

The curious name for this recipe comes from my own curiosity. I wondered just how many blossoms I would need to get about a cup and a half of petals. I decided to make muffins with some of the dandelions blooming in my yard. I have a lot of dandelions, and I wanted to use a really decent amount in my muffins. I started counting as I trimmed them and  stopped when I had a cup and a half. It turned out to be 100 flowers. So now, if you want to make this recipe, you will know when you can stop picking!!!

If you can’t beat them, eat them. I actually am a big fan of dandelions. I have organized dandelion cook-offs and edited a dandelion cookbook. I eat the leaves, and  a tea made from the roasted roots. The flowers are a wonderful ingredient in cooking, too. They are used to make dandelion wine and I enjoy adding them to fritters, pancakes and other baked goods. So here is my recipe for dandelion muffins.  They are pretty tasty, tender, light and not too sweet.

 

100 Dandelion Blossom Muffins

 

2 c. flour

1 T. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 egg, beaten

1½ c. half and half

1/3 c. honey

¼ c. melted butter

1 t. vanilla

1 t. orange zest

1 ½ c. dandelion petals*

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease them, set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour with baking powder and salt and set aside. In another bowl, combine egg with half and half, honey, butter, vanilla and orange zest. Beat by hand until well mixed. Stir in dandelion blossoms, then stir in flour mixture. Do not over mix. Stir just until flour is mixed in. Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Great served warm with butter and honey. Makes 12.

 

* To prepare the dandelion blossoms you want to trim of the tough base and just use the petals in the recipe. Some of the green sepals will get mixed in, and that is OK. Measure the petals after trimming. I picked 100 flowers and ended up with about 1½ cups of petals.

 

Edible Flowers

Violet

Violet

I’ve been cooking a lot with flowers lately. I often add them to salads, infuse vinegars and make jelly with them. You can also use them to decorate cakes or other desserts, in salad dressings and marinades, floating in tropical cocktails, in punch bowls and in ice cubes. Flowers can also top off dips, cheese, fruit trays and other appetizers, be used to make teas, infused in honey or mixed with soft cheese and spread on crackers or toast. Add some to baked goods like quick breads, cookies and muffins or in yogurt, cottage cheese or sorbet. Wherever your food needs a little color or flavor flowers make it special. Below are 2 lists- one of edible flowers- the other of flowers that are poisonous. Be sure you know what you are eating-and only eat flowers that have been grown pesticide free.

Some Edible Flowers

Calendula, Chives, Daylily, Mint, Nasturtium, Pansy, Rose, Sage, Signet Marigold, Squash Blossoms, Anise Hyssop, Apple, Arugula, Basil, Bee Balm, Borage, Broccoli, Chamomile, Chicory, Chrysanthemum, Coriander, Dandelion, Dianthus, Dill, Elderberry, English Daisy, Evening Primrose, Fennel, Garlic Chives, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Hyssop, Jasmine, Johnny-Jump-Up, Lavender, Lemon, Lilac, Linden, Marjoram, Mustard, Nasturtiums, Nodding Onion, Okra, Orange, Oregano, Pea, Pineapple Guava, Pineapple Sage, Radish, Red Clover, Redbud, Rose of Sharon, Roselle, Rosemary, Runner Beans, Sage, Safflower, Scented Geraniums, Shungiku, Society Garlic, Sunflower, Sweet Woodruff, Thyme, Tuberous Begonia, Tulip, Violet, Winter Savory, Yucca

Some Poisonous Flowers

Aconite, Anemone, Anthurium, Atamasco Lily, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Baneberry, Black Locust, Bloodroot, Boxwood, Burning Bush, Buttercup, Butterfly Weed, Caladium, Call, Carolina Jasmine, Castor Bean, Cherry Laurel, Chinaberry, Christmas Rose, Clematis, Daffodil, Deadly Nightshade, Death Camas, Delphinium, Dogbane, Dumbcane, Elephant Ears, False Hellebore, Four O’clock, Foxglove, Gloriosa Lily, Golden Chain Tree, Goldenseal, Heavenly Bamboo, Henbane, Horse Chestnut, Horse Nettle, Hyacinth, Hyacinth Bean, Hydrangea, Iris, Ivy, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Jerusalem Cherry, Jessamine, Jetbead, Jimsonweed, Jonquil, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Lantana, Larkspur, Leopard’s Bane, Lily of the Valley, Lobelia, Marsh Marigold, May Apple, Mescal Bean, Mistletoe, Morning Glory, Mountain Laurel, Nightshade, Oleander, Periwinkle, Philodendron, Pittosporum, Poison Hemlock, Potato, Privet, Rhododendron, Rock Poppy, Schefflera, Spring Adonis, Spurge, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Pea, Tobacco, Trumpet Flower, Water Hemlock, Wild Cherry, Wisteria, Yellow Allamanda, Yellow Oleander, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Neither of these lists in meant to be complete. Most important of all is to be sure you can identify these plants. If you are unsure plant identifications can be done at your local Extension office, garden center, nursery, arboretum and botanical garden. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. There are more than enough easy to identify flowers out there to enjoy without taking chances.

 

Candied Violets

Candied Violets

Candied Violets

I love to make candied violets. It’s an easy way to enjoy these delicate flowers throughout the year. I recently posted a lemon cake decorated with candied violets. Several people asked me how to make them so I thought I would share the directions. I like to use them to decorate baked goods. Lovely on a cake they also add a sweet touch to cupcakes.

 

 

Candied Violets

Powdered egg whites (see note)
Water
Superfine sugar (see note)
Fresh violet flowers, rinsed and drained on paper toweling- Not African violets

Following package directions reconstitute egg whites to the equivalent of one or two egg whites. You can dilute them a little to make them easier to brush on. Place sugar in a shallow bowl. With a food-grade fine brush coat a violet with the egg white and press into the sugar. Place on wax paper and repeat with remaining flowers. Allow to dry for about a week. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid in a cool place. I like to store them in the freezer.

Superfine sugar, egg whites and violets

Superfine sugar, egg whites and violets

Violet brushed with egg white

Violet brushed with egg white

Dip in superfine sugar

Dip in superfine sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let violets dry about a week before storing

Let violets dry about a week before storing

Note: While some people use raw egg whites in these it is a better idea to use powdered egg whites which will have been pasteurized and therefore not a risk for salmonella.

Note: You can use regular granulated sugar if you do not have superfine or you can pulse granulated sugar in a processor a few times to make superfine sugar. Don’t over process or you will end up with powdered sugar.