A Floral Feast

There’s never any dearth of things to eat in the summertime. From a delicious variety of summer fruits and sun-ripened vegetables, to tender herbs and young roots, it’s impossible to go hungry during these bountiful months. As luck would have it, it’s also the perfect time to graze through the rest of your garden and nosh on your nasturtiums, literally. Adding color and zest to even the most pedestrian of salads or food platters, edible flowers can turn any meal into a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach. Here’re a few especially tasty possibilities that turn bouquet into banquet.

Nasturtiums: Deep red or orange blossoms and lilypad-shaped leaves give the nasturtium a distinctively elegant look when tossed in a salad or scattered as a garnish across an appetizer platter. Their flavor is distinct too — with a slight pepper tang — and additionally they are loaded with vitamin C.

 Pansies: Delicate and colorful — the edible blossoms of this beautiful biennial taste slightly of spearmint — and make great dessert decorations, candied or fresh. To candy your own, paint a thin layer of beaten pasteurized egg white (either powdered or liquid) or unflavored gelatin to flowers and sprinkle entirely with superfine sugar. Lay to dry on waxed paper or a wire baking rack and store in a glass jar for up to six months (if you can keep from eating them that long, that is!).

 Roses: Also high in vitamin C, roses are the quintessential edible flower, from the delicate, fragrant buds to the hearty hips. Use the uncooked petals in salads and garnishes, or steep dried rosehips in water for a healthy herbal infusion. Dried rose petals are my secret ingredient in jus de bissap (dried hibiscus flowers and grated ginger steeped in boiled water for 15 to 20 minutes, strain out flowers, let cool, and add pineapple juice, lemon juice, and a sweetener if desired), and can also be used to infuse water, vodka, vinegar, or oil with their sweet scent.

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