Photo Credit: Foodcollection/getty images
With spring in full throttle, cooks across the country are focused on the first spears of asparagus, the first shoots of green garlic, the first meaty morel mushrooms. But there’s another class of edible that can do just as much to brighten your plates: edible flowers.
From those you’ve heard of—like pansies, nasturtium, and marigolds—to those with which you may be less familiar—like calendula, Johnny Jump-Up, or borage—edible flowers are more than simple adornments. They can also add a trademark taste and aroma to everything from crème brulee to tea.
If you’re an edible flower novice, here’s a quick primer:
For the licorice lover: Try anise hyssop, clover, chervil blossoms, and fennel flowers.
For a cool, minty boost: Try bee balm and Johnny Jump-Up.
For a sweet note: Try elderberry flowers, honeysuckles and violets.
For a refreshing iced tea: Try hibiscus, lemon verbena, and jasmine.
For stuffing: Try fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with goat cheese.
Just don’t experiment too much. You want to avoid poisonous petals, of which there are many, so if a flower isn’t specifically marketed as edible, you’ll want to steer clear until you’ve gotten confirmation that it’s safe to ingest. It’s a good idea to choose organic, too, to limit pesticide exposure.
Oh, and one more thing.
Avoid thorns. There’s nothing that ruins a great salad quite like a mouthful of prickly thorns.