|by peter njeru|
|Published on: Aug 6, 2005|
|Visit a flower garden, and your senses are immediately rewarded. You enjoy the sight of the flowers’ colors, their shapes and their intricate designs. You smell their fragrances. You feel the varied textures of their petals. But what about your sense of taste? Can you also find pleasure in the taste of flowers? In some countries, people have enjoyed the flavor of edible flowers for centuries. If you have one of the following available in your flower or vegetable garden, maybe you too would enjoy the experience
The Vivacious Daylily
The long, thin, abundant leaves at the base of the daylily are characteristic of this plant. Its short-lived flower must not be confused with other flowers of the same family, Liliaceae. Daylilies, whose colors range from yellow to red, have long been used in the kitchen. This flower, lightly cooked, can be served as vegetable. Another possibility is to combine its petals with ingredients of your choice to make a light paste and then fry it. Garnish it with an entire flower.
The Colorful Garden Pansy
Bicoloured or tricoloured pansies have characteristic dark spots on the petals, which give them an unusual appearance. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the garden pansy is usually thought to be a cultivated form of the wild pansy. This wildflower is edible but can be toxic in large amounts. It greatly enhances the flavor and appearance of vegetable and fruit salads. Use the entire flower, adding it right before serving and after adding any vinaigrette. You can also serve it on your favorite soup.
The Squash Blossom
Before cooking the flowers, remove the outside prickly leaves. Pistils can be taken off or left on. In soups, the mild flavor of the squash blossoms goes well with olive oil, tender corn and the squash itself. For a stronger flavor, you can sauté the blossoms with some onion, garlic, herbs, and spices of your choice. You can also stuff the flowers with a mixture of cheese, onion and herbs. Then close the end, and dip the blossoms in an egg mixture of whisked egg whites to which yolks have been added. Finally dip the blossoms in bread crumbs, deep-fry them, and enjoy their unique flavor!
The Romantic Rose
Around the world, the rose is probably the best known and the most appreciated flower. Besides the primary species, there are thousands of man-made hybrids. Since flavor is affected by such factors as soil and temperature, it is advisable to taste a petal of the rose or any other flower before you decide to use the flower as food. You will probably notice that the base of the petal is somewhat bitter. If it is, cut out that part, or if you are serving the complete flower, eat only the outer part.
The list of dishes that can be enriched by roses is practically endless. Try them in salads, maybe with some mild cheese and chopped nuts. Use smashed petals of red roses as an extra ingredient in your favorite sauce to add flavor and color. And what about giving your spaghetti the final touch of rose petals cut into strips? Roses will also enhance the flavor of ice cream and your favorite beverage.
Some flowers are poisonous. Identify the edible ones positively. When in doubt, do not eat them.
Do not eat any flower that has been treated with pesticides or any other chemical. This would often be true of flowers bought from florists, garden centers, and some nurseries. Eat only flower grown organically and far from roadways.
Flowers should not be eaten by people who have asthma or a plant related allergy.
Like frits and vegetable, flowers must be washed and disinfected, especially when they are to be eaten raw.