By mid-spring, the warm weather is upon us, and we begin filling our tables with refreshing salads, and flowers. Yes, flowers. Salads are appealing as they bring a lot of water and are also light on calories, and we’re also increasingly eating flowers that we previously only used to decorate our dishes. Edible flowers have been used in haute cuisine for years, but they’re now becoming more and more available to everyone.
We’ve prepared a brief review of some of the most popular ones, so you know which ones to choose from, and what goes with what the next time you’re preparing a meal:
These beautiful flowers have a soft, sweet flavour, and can be used fresh, dried, crystallised, or caramelised.
The flowers are edible and with their orange colour have become widely used to decorate salads. The leaves can also be eaten and have quite a strong taste that resembles watercress.
With their bright yellow colour, they add a great aroma and taste that’s similar to saffron and are often used as a cheaper alternative. They can be eaten fresh or even coated in batter.
4. Sechuan Buttons
Sechuan Buttons, which are also known as electric buttons, are not as well known as the others here on our list. When eaten fresh, they have a pleasant tingling, champagne-like sensation at first, which then gives way to a surprisingly numbing, cooling effect. They can also be eaten dried.
5. Chive Blossoms
The bluish, violet colour is similar to lavender, and the taste is similar to that of an onion, but not as strong. It’s perfect for salads, garnishing meat or fish dishes, and can also be added to oils to add a mild onion flavour.
6. Courgette Flowers
Courgette flowers have been widely used in Italy for years, and we’re now starting to see them on more and more dishes in Spain. In fact, they’re often the principal ingredient. They have a subtle and somewhat sweet taste when used fresh but are also incredibly tasty when fried.
Begonias have different edible varieties and colours. We can find them in many colours, white, pink, red, etc. They have a light citrus flavour and work well with fruit salad, and can also be used to accompany meat of salads.
8. Sweet William
Although the typical carnation with its peppery flavours is also edible, there’s one variety that’s especially recommendable, Sweet William. It looks great served on the side with any dish and has a great taste with sweet nuances. It also works well with desserts and salads with fruit, making it perfect for summer dishes.
9. Orange Blossoms
The smell of the tree is just as intoxicating the blossom in the kitchen. Their sugary sparkles are perfect for desserts but also work well as a contrast with savoury dishes.
As it has such a strong smell, it can also be used to enhance citrus overtones in ice cream or in recipes to make flan.
10. Jasmine Flowers
Jasmine is frequently used as a flavouring as it has a strong sweet fragrance. It works well with certain meats, and also in teas.
It’s also commonly used in Arabic cuisine for desserts and sweet recipes with strong fragrances.