Published July 20, 2012
Spring is in the air and delicious edible flowers are everywhere.
There’s no question that a pretty floral garnish adds colour and elegance to any dinner party.
Edible flowers may be purchased from your local nursery, grocery outlet (in the herb section) or easily grown in your garden. A word of caution however, not all flowers are edible. Be sure to inquire at the local nursery as to which flowers and plants are edible and which are not. A good book of reference is the Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy.
Some flowers are poisonous and others are grown with pesticides so be sure to wash all your flowers thoroughly before use.
Herb flowers are a natural choice with selections such as borage, chive, rosemary and mint. Try adding some tarragon, basil and chervil to some unsalted butter. This makes fabulous herb butter for entertaining. Or float some borage stems in a bowl of homemade soup.
For more formal occasions, candied flowers are a beautiful addition to any cake, cupcake or other special dessert. Chamomile flowers, pansies and roses all work wonderfully for this idea. Simply cut the stem off the plant and wash under cold water. Let dry. Dilute pasteurized egg whites with water and using a small pair of tweezers either dip the flower or paint the egg white mixture on the surface of the flower with a small paintbrush. Immediately sprinkle superfine sugar over the entire flower and place on wax paper to dry. The flower should be dry within 2-5 days and can be kept in a container for up to 1 month.
Other nice choices for garnishes are the peppery nasturtium, violets and violas.
It’s best to pick your flowers in the early morning or late afternoon when the water content is at its peak. Remember that these flowers will not keep long so plan to serve them within a short time of picking.