Many of the most beautiful flowers are not only a feast for your eyes but for our bellies too!
As a rule of thumb eat the petals only, removing the stamens, sepals and other flower parts. One of the most enjoyable afternoons I have ever spent was wandering around a huge poly tunnel full of different cultivars of pansy and viola. All have a taste like lettuce, but each one is slightly different, some sweeter than others! They make a great garnish, visually pepping up any dish.
One of the nation’s favourite flowers, the lavender is well known for being used to relax, however it can be used in a variety of culinary ways. It can be used in baked goods, as well as sprigs being used in a stews and casseroles. It has a sweet, floral flavour, with hints of lemon and citrus. There are a plethora of recipes available or the adventurous amongst you might like to experiment, although I would suggest that less is more!
As summer approaches, some of you might like to enjoy a glass or two of pimms or a non-alcoholic cocktail. There are many different flowers that you can add to wow your guests. My favourite is the flower of borage, which has a delicious and surprising to the uninitiated, taste of cucumber. Other options include rose petals, elderflowers or pot marigold petals!
There are flowers that you might have growing in your veg patch or close by that could form part of a meal. The flowers of courgettes, pumpkins & squashes can be munched and this is a wonderful way of avoiding a glut or kitchen full of over–sized marrows! In the Mediterranean, squash blossoms are stuffed with flavoured breadcrumbs or ricotta cheese and then fried. Nasturtium flowers in their fiery reds, yellows and oranges are a wonderful addition to a salad, providing a blast of colour as well as a peppery zing!