Using flowers in food.

Rose

So beautiful to look at, and delicious… to eat? Ha! Roses offer a delicate flavour, which is complimented well by other light flavours such as vanilla or almond. Rose can muddy very easily, so it is best to infuse the petals in a syrup or sugar instead of adding them to cooking directly. For decoration the petals or full blooms look equally delightful.

Borage

Now these stunners are best used for decoration as opposed to seasoning. They liven up any homemade meal but are a little furry – not so good for the palate. In saying that, they are totally edible. You can find borage often growing as a weed. We had some by our driveway and I didn’t even notice until it was in bloom. Borage has very characteristic downward facing star shaped flower in the loveliest violet shade.

Violet

Easy on the eyes and tongue! These adorable mini-me flowers taste like nothing, but look a treat. They almost melt in the mouth so are great in cakes, on cakes, in ice cubes, in salads or biscuits! These also grow like a weed and love shady spots around the garden; they have a dark green lily pad like leaf.

Dandelions

Dandelions have an earthy taste, so can help balance a sweet dish or are great in a salad. Yet another weed! (Maybe we should reconsider our definitions). I think we all know what they look like, but if not they are bright yellow and tend to be found in grassy patches. No special treatment for the dandelion, however if I am putting them in baking I will pull apart the petals.

Lavender

You can eat it and decorate with it! To be honest it deserves a whole post. Lavender goes well with vanilla for something sweet, or with rosemary for a savoury twist.

  • Try in shortbread or on a Sunday roast.
  • Choose a tasty variety of lavender, nearly all varieties are safe to eat – some contain more bitter compounds than others and these are generally avoided. I am free spirited and just pick the stuff out of the garden (heritage variety??) it hasn’t hurt me yet.
  • Lavandula angustifolia (english lavender) is the best ‘to eat’ lavender and supermarkets sell this as culinary lavender.
  • When cooking with it, use less than you think you will need. 1 teaspoon is enough for a whole cake!
  • Another awesome method is to infuse the lavender into sugar or syrup, although people do all sorts of fun stuff – infusing lavender into cream, honey and vodka!
Happy baking, eating and cooking this summer!