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With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s time to start planning the menus for our celebrations. If you want to make your dishes tasty and unique, add edible flowers. From sides and entrees to desserts, there are numerous ways to use these delicious blooms to enhance your cooking.
If you have a garden, many of these items may still be in bloom in November and December. This is especially true if you live in a warmer climate. Take advantage of Mother Nature’s bounty to use edible flowers from the plants you grow.
For starters, salads are more fun to eat when they’re laced with colorful blossoms. Peppery nasturtium flowers, in rich red and orange hues, add a zesty touch to your greens. Chicory flowers, which are related to endive, add a nutty flavor.
Spice up your vegetables such as green beans and Brussels sprouts. Marigold or calendula petals are reminiscent of saffron when sauteed and will add a savory touch to your dish. Or add sunflower petals along with the roasted seeds for a toasted accent to your veggies.
Bright yellow squash blossoms can not only add a pop of color to your salad, they can also be a side dish themselves. Look for recipes for fried, batter-dipped squash flowers. They can also be stuffed with ricotta or mascarpone cheese and roasted.
Many plants have leaves and roots that are edible, but it isn’t commonly known that the flowers are edible too. Sage, oregano and basil are examples of popular herbs that feature edible flowers. Radishes and arugula also boast delicious blossoms. Sprinkle the flowers over your dish just before serving to maintain their freshness and color.
Infused oils can be made with herbs and their flowers, preserving the flavor for several months. For example, chive flower oil can be drizzled over roasted or mashed potatoes for a subtle onion essence. This flavored oil is also a lovely complement to freshly baked biscuits or popovers.
For a refreshing after-dinner drink, try hibiscus tea. This slightly tart beverage may help to aid in digestion so you don’t feel over-stuffed after your feast. Hibiscus tea bags are available at most grocery and health food stores.
Save room for dessert! Wow your guests with petit fours or cupcakes topped with candied violets. Petite phyllo shells filled with custard or raspberry jam would be beautiful with candied rose petals on top. To save time, purchase the candied flowers from a local candy supply shop or an online retailer.
Whether you’re using edible flowers from the market or from your garden, be certain that they’re clean, fresh, and free of chemicals. These blooming beauties will add a delicious and colorful element to your meal, making your holiday feast unforgettable.