Pretty Edible – Your Guide to Edible Flowers
Oh Instagram, how we love thee so. You gave us so many impossible things to aspire to, yet day by day we return to the shiny screen to torture ourselves with images of the picture perfect. Yes, our homemade concoctions may taste exquisite but translating that to an image is often easier said than done. For those among us who have yet to reach the lofty heights of the professional instagrammer, help is at hand. Edible flowers not only instantly up your picture game, but often have major nutritional benefits to boot. It’s a win win. We have put together a short guide on what to look out for, what to eat and most importantly, what not to eat.
Best for the Sweet Stuff
Primrose flowers are high is Gamma Linolenic Acid which is a fatty acid (one of the good ones) that can also be found in Evening Primrose Oil. It is widely considered to be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage due to diabetes, eczema and high blood pressure. Primrose petals have a velvety texture with a sweet, faintly honey taste. Primrose flowers go well with cakes of all kinds, pastries and of course cocktails.
With a faint clove like aroma, Dianthus have mild floral taste with notes of spice. Again these go well with patisserie and are often used for cake decoration. They are a source potassium and come in a variety of shades from including whites, pinks, purples and reds.
Best for Savoury Dishes
Allium is related to the onion and garlic family making it the perfect partner for savoury dishes of all styles. It is high in vitamins b and c and is also an anti-carcinogen. Colours vary from white, yellow and purple and it has a mild, sweet onion flavour.
With its delicate mouthfeel and refreshing taste, Borage is a good choice for main course salads. The flower comes in either white, blue or pink and is also a source of vitamins.
With its subtly sweet taste and succulent texture, Purslane is one of the most popular edible flowers available in Ireland. They are a source of vitamin c and vibrantly pink in colour. Purslane works well with both sweet and savoury dishes.
Calendula has a tangy, ever so slightly spicy piquancy that sits well with all dishes. It is also a very pretty source of antioxidants. The flowers come in all shades of orange and yellow.
Another earthy, faintly spicy flower, Nasturtium comes in a range of colours including orange, yellow and red, from the most vibrant to the palest of shades. It works well with many dishes and is a source of vitamins and iron.
Things to look out for
Make sure you source your edible flowers from a reliable source and that they have been grown form the edible flower market. Not all flowers are edible and many flowers from a garden center may well have been treated with harmful pesticides. Consider growing your own which is the ideal way to ensure fresh and tasty blooms at all times. If you take on the GIY project, ensure that the seeds too are organic or at the very least not pre-treated.
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FEATURE BY CIARA MCQUILLAN