I’m so excited to see all the Spring flowers coming into bloom. Hopefully the snow forecast this week won’t wipe them out. Did you know that a lot of these are edible?
Let’s start with tulips. Here’s a recipe I tried out from Great British Chefs which uses tapioca, mushrooms, sugar snap peas and spring onions as the stuffing for the tulip head which is then steamed for a few minutes and served with pea puree. It was stunning! Tulips have a natural oniony flavour so it worked really well.
Or the fresh petals actually make wonderful canapés like this one which uses a simple Goat’s cheese dip as the filling.
You can find the recipe on my Lovefood page. Please do give me a follow if you’re registered on there :-)
Moving on to Dandelions. Yes your common garden Dandelion. I wrote an article on edible flowers which outlines the history of this common flower and dates it back to biblical times. I used it to make this Dandelion and Chrysanthemum Frittata.
Chrysanthemums are also edible. The petals come in all kinds of different colours so make a lovely garnish for salads or try making ice cubes with the petals immersed in the water before they go in the freezer for some quirky cocktails.
Lavender is another flower I’m starting to see out and about which adds a wonderful sweet and floral flavour to shortbread and cakes. Used in tea it can calm and soothe the nerves. Make sure you use edible grade lavender or fresh flower heads from your garden.
Rose is one of my most favourite flowers to use in baking and cooking. These macrons were flavoured with rosewater which is readily available in supermarkets now. The petals have a sweet taste and can be used in jams and teas as well as coated in lightly beaten egg white and sugar for a crystallised effect.
Sunflowers are well know for their seeds but did you know that their petals are edible too. Just like chrysanthemums, you can use them in salads or to pretty up jellies.
Finally my favourite, the violas and pansies. My husband grew these from seed a few years ago and I use them for decoration from mini meringue canapes to springtime cakepops as demonstrated at The London Chocolate Festival. I used them to decorate my orange polenta cake at my pop up afternoon tea too.
And of course, you may remember them on Episode 2 of The Great British Bake Off last year.
If you are going to use fresh edible flowers, make sure you give them a really good clean. There are some wholesalers that supply the catering trade who you can mail order from. These would have been grown with little or no pesticides. I have a pragmatic view on this. If you buy apples from the supermarket, you’d thoroughly wash them before use right? Well I apply the same principle for flowers. Ideally I grow them, if not I source them organically and then if I can’t get any through those routes, I buy from my florist and give them a super clean. It works for me but you should follow your own precautions.
Also eat them in small quantities. Unlike our forefathers, our digestive systems are not used to eating flowers and so you could get tummy upsets or flu like symptoms if you consumer too many.
Other than that all I’ll say is experiment. Who new dandelions would work well with eggs? It does though so get florally creative and do pop back and share your recipes and pictures on my Facebook page.