Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flowers Can Taste As Good As They Look - Cooking With Flowers

By Adam Fowler

Not only do flowers add a lot of flavour to your recipes but they look beautiful too. There are easy ways to add flowers to your main dishes, your soups, salads, desserts and appetisers. Cooking with flowers makes bouquets so good you can eat them. Go ahead and eat them, they are yummy.

Even though not every flower you see is going to be safe to eat there are lot of flowers that are both beautiful and edible. They make decorative additions to your recipes and they add great flavours as well. Soups are spectacular with flowers floating on top. Edible flowers are not just pretty and tasty but they do add nutritional value to your ingredients. The next special dinner that you make will be very remarkable with the addition of a few edible flowers.

Try to find flowers that are organically grown. Ask your florist what they recommend and how they would suggest you use the flowers in your cooking. Always be sure to wash them carefully like you do with your vegetables that you cook.

As a general rule for dishes that are sweet try using violets, citrus or apple blossoms and carnation petals. Main dishes do well with broccoli florets and herbs. Vegetables that have edible flowers are arugula, okra, broccoli, fennel, and the male squash flowers. The flowers of the arugula have a nutty taste like horseradish. The whole fennel plant is edible and the flowers taste like aniseed which goes well with salmon.

To add freshness to any of your recipes you can always add in herbal flowers. The leaves of the herbs produce edible flowers like dill, dandelion, basil, lavender, rosemary, mint, thyme, chives and sage. The flowers of the herbs can be preserved in oil for cooking and the lavender makes a sugar that is an amazing sweetener for cookies, jelly and tea. Rosemary has tiny buds that work really well in meat dishes or salads. The flowers of the dill go well in omelets while the buttery flavour and look of the dandelion flowers have a peppery kick to them once eaten. The flowers of the chive are a crunchy addition to salads and the flavour is that of a mild onion.

The ornamental flowers that are edible are pansies, calendula, day lilies, hollyhock, chamomile, impatiens, bergamot, , chrysanthemum, nasturtiums, violets, tulips, violas and scented geraniums.

For spicing up your salads or adding interest to your soup by floating flower petals is a good addition to your menu. Crystallizing hollyhock flowers are good dessert garnishments. The main dishes like omelettes, souffles, rice dishes and breads go well with calendula. There is a peppery flavor with nasturtiums and they pair well with guacamole or cheese. The day lilies taste a lot like asparagus so they work really well in a stir fry dish or in soups.

Edible flowers from trees include apple, hibiscus, honeysuckle, roses, lilacs, plum, pear, and peach. Rose petals can be crystallized and then made into jellies or jams. Of course, edible roses are wonderful for decorating cakes. No matter what flower you choose to add to your recipes, it is always the best idea to buy from a reputable dealer who can give you expert advice.

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