Helping Hands in the Kitchen: Edible Flowers

May 10, 2022

In May, the weather is USUALLY warmer, and the flowers bloom. Being the foodie I am, I thought I’d share a little about edible flowers! Chefs of the world often use flower petals as a garnish for their elegant dishes. I think it’s just fun to put a pansy on any dish as a garnish. Or to make something with the flavor of lavender or mint.  Each flower possesses its own characteristics – some bitter, some sweet, some with more aroma and most have a unique flavor that can be a secret ingredient.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: ONLY FLOWERS GROWN WITHOUT PESTICIDES MAY BE EATEN. They should be eaten in moderation. If you are ever in doubt, consult a horticulturist or an encyclopedia for edible flowers. If you use or eat flowers that you shouldn’t, it COULD be fatal. We have a lot of cooking and eating to do – so PLEASE be careful.

Red and yellow tomatoes with basil blossoms salad

RED AND YELLOW TOMATOES WITH BASIL BLOSSOMS SALAD

Basil, which is a member of the mint family, can enhance the flavor of soups, stews, and salads.

Ingredients

  • 2 large red tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 large yellow tomatoes, sliced (or 2 more red tomatoes)
  • ½ pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 shallots, very finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon basil blossoms

Instructions

  1. On a nice serving platter, alternate the red and yellow tomato slices (if using yellow) with the mozzarella slices.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle with shredded basil leaves and blossoms.
  5. Serve at room temperature.
Example of Turkey Marigold Roll-Ups

TURKEY MARIGOLD ROLL-UPS

Marigold Blossoms add a golden hue to soups, grains, or scrambled eggs.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon horseradish
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons diced sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tart apple (peeled, cored, and finely diced)
  • 1 cup marigold petals
  • 4 12” tortillas (any flavor – whole wheat, white, tomato, avocado)
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced turkey (or ham)
  • Additional marigold petals for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, blend the cream cheese with the mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon juice, and pickle relish.
  2. Gently stir in apple dices and marigold petals.
  3. With a spatula, spread the mixture evenly over each tortilla.
  4. Cover the spread with a single layer of turkey or ham slices.
  5. Roll up the filled tortilla, jelly-roll style.
  6. Cut immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. 
  7. Cut to desired thickness and arrange on serving platter.
  8. Sprinkle with additional marigold petals.
Example of Herb Cheese Tart with Chive Blossoms

HERB CHEESE TART WITH CHIVE BLOSSOMS

Ingredients

  • 1 9” pie shell (frozen or use pre-made pie dough)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, whipped with chives and onions
  • 3 ounces plain cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 large chive blossoms, separated into petals
  • Additional blossoms for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the dough inside a greased pie pan or quiche pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl with electric mixer beat the herb cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs until smooth.
  4. Stir in chive blossoms with a spoon.
  5. Pour into prepared pie shell.
  6. Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes until filling is puffy and light brown.
  7. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
  8. Decorate with additional fresh chive blossoms. Serve hot or warm.
Example of Lavender Shortbread

LAVENDER SHORTBREAD

Dried lavender is used in fragrances and vinegars, often custards, and definitely shortbread cookies. Lavender adds a mysterious scent to sorbets, beef stew, and cookies.

Makes 24 pieces.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Grated rind of ½ lemon
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lavender blossoms, stripped from the stem
  • Additional blossoms for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the flour in increments and blend until you obtain a smooth, firm dough.
  3. Mix in lemon rind and lavender blossoms.
  4. Line a flat surface with parchment paper.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll out into two 10” x 7“ rectangles about ¼ inch thick.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate dough at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. When dough is cool, cut into 1″x3” rectangles.
  8. With a spatula, transfer them carefully onto non stick baking sheet, leaving an inch between. They expand when baking.
  9. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake 18-20 minutes or until cookies turn light brown around the edges. Watch carefully. Don’t burn.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Sprinkle with extra lavender blossoms if desired to serve. Store in airtight container. 
Skagit Valley tulips

CHOCOLATE-MOUSSED TULIPS

Since Skagit Valley is famous for tulips, it seems to me that we should think about using tulips. Tulips make beautiful edible cups for fruit sorbets, sweet or savory mousses or even finely minced, crisp vegetables. White, peach or pink blossoms are ideal for chocolate mousse filling!

Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sweet butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier liquor or orange juice
  • 3 egg whites at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of ½ orange
  • 8 tulips rinsed and dried (carefully)
  • 3 pints raspberries rinsed and drained for garnish

Instructions

  1. In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolate until smooth.
  2. Stir in the butter, remove from heat, and allow to cool a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the egg yolks, one at a time, and the Grand Marnier or orange juice. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until fairly stiff.
  5. Half way through, add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  6. With a spatula, carefully fold chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites.
  7. Stir in orange zest.
  8. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare tulips for filling. Carefully push petals apart and, with a small pair of scissors, cut out pistil and stamen. Cut off the stem.
  10. Take mousse from refrigerator and fill each blossom ¾ full. Gently hold the petals. Mound 1-2 Tablespoons of mousse in the bottom of each of 6-8 dessert cups.
  11. Surround tulips with an even amount of raspberries if you want. Set a raspberry in the center of each tulip. Chill until ready to serve.

This takes a little time, but definitely unique, unusual, and impressive!

Take a little time, enjoy your creative side, and try some of these delicious edible flower recipes for special occasions! Just remember, no pesticides – be careful and safe. You might start by planting some seeds to grow your own flowers in pots or in a garden. If in doubt, please ask a professional or consult an edible flower book.

Bon Appétit!
With Love,

Granni K

Click here to download these recipes.

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