Taste, Smell and Sight: The Sensual Pleasure of Edible Flowers
When you think of flowers for a special event you likely think of a wedding bouquet or a floral centerpiece. Maybe you think of a beautiful flower garden or pots brimming with flowers. But do when you think of flowers, do you think about the meal that you’re going to be eating? Probably not.
Edible flowers are a hot menu trend and for good reason. They’re gorgeous, unique, fanciful – and they taste good!
Teahouses have long celebrated the taste, smell and beauty of edible flowers.
Many farm-to-table menus are serving edible flowers with their foods and wines.
Edible flowers are frequently used ingredients by mixologists.
How to Find Edible Flowers
There are a number of different ways that flowers can be used in your menu, and each is even tastier than the last. Explore your summer garden to discover which flowers are edible, or buy them directly from a food producer or in the produce section of your grocer – not in the floral section – so you can experiment with different ways to incorporate them into your menus such as garnishing your salad or decking out desserts and cocktails.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using edible flowers:
First, you have to research to find out what flowers are actually edible and which ones are not.
Then, make sure you know how those flowers were grown. Flowers grown with pesticides and other chemicals are generally not safe to eat.
Don’t pick flowers on the side of the road to use for your food. You never know what they may be contaminated with.
Also, make sure that you’re harvesting those flowers when they reach full bloom, and during the cool part of the day for the best results in taste and scent.
Elevate Your Menu With Flowers
There are actually many different types of edible flowers that you can experiment with when it comes to your menu, whether it’s at home or for a special event menu.
For cocktails, try hibiscus, lavender buds, pansies or violets to add an elegant touch and a little hint of added flavor.
Make stylish ice cubes using violets and other flowers like daisies, pansies, citrus blooms, dandelions, lilac and even rose petals.
Create elegant sandwiches for teas and special events – rose petals and pansies are a great choice.
Cakes and Cupcakes
For a more natural and beautiful cake, you can decorate your cake or cupcakes with violets, lavender buds, daylilies and more.
In fact, these are only a few of the many ways you can use edible flowers in your menu. Here are some more ways you can incorporate delicious flowers:
teas and infusions
oils, jellies and marinades
How To Find Edible Flowers
Make sure you’re sourcing edible flowers from a safe, reputable place. This means growing them yourself so you know they are organic and safe, or getting them from someone or somewhere that you trust.
Local farmers’ markets are a great place to look for edible flowers, or you can call around to local farms and growers to find out who has the flowers you’re looking for and the right growing methods. No matter how you get them or what dishes you put them in, edible flowers will elevate your menus in many ways.
Some of my favorite edible flowers are rose petals, lavender and hibiscus. Other popular edible flowers are:
Peppery flavor, just like arugula leaves. Use in salads or other savory dishes.
Delicate, oniony flavor. Use whole flowers or separate the individual petals.
Tart and sweet. Often used in teas, cocktails, and salads.
Very sweet, floral fragrance and flavor. Use in teas or desserts.
Minty, almost bubblegum-y flavor. Serve on cakes or with soft mild cheese, like goat cheese.
Floral flavor that’s perfume-y and faintly citrusy. Use in cocktails, teas, desserts, or other baked goods.
Light lemon flavor that’s well-suited for sweet or savory cooking.
Faint citrus flavor. Try it in a salad.
Peppery flavor and golden hue. Try them on crostini with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Use these as garnish — they’re so pretty! Faint grassy flavor.
Mild raw squash taste. Usually cooked before eaten. Lightly dust with cornstarch and deep fry.
Sweet and floral. Use in dessert or freeze into ice cubes for decorative drinking.
Do You Want Floral Edibles At Your Next Event?
A creative event planner who is also passionate about flowers can help you create a menu using edible flowers to elevate any special occasion. A wedding cake decorated with flowers expresses the bridal couple’s personality and passions. Color, flavor, originality, perfume and elegance – all to be discovered in a tiny flower!