Food & Drink » Glenda Bartosh on Food

Food and Drink

Here's to flower power!

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If you do use flowers in your cooking, rather than fresh, just make sure you treat them as kindly as they do us. Petals and their flavours are delicate so they should be cooked very briefly or added at serving time as intriguing garnishes.

Edible flowers you can delight in:

Herbs (chives, rosemary, lavender, thyme); rose; violet and pansy; daylily; calendula; bachelor button; begonia; jasmine; geranium (many have herb and fruit scents); lilac; orchids; chrysanthemums and marigolds' lotus; nasturtium; elderflower (but not our local B.C. elderflowers); citrus; apple and pear; tulip (payback time!); gardenia; peony; linden (tilleul); redbud.

Don't try these:

Lily of the valley; hydrangea; narcissus and daffodil; oleander; poinsettia; rhododendron; sweet pea; wisteria.

These lists are largely from On Food and Cooking, but don't include all flowers.

A rule of thumb is never try eating a flower or any other part of a plant unless you've checked with a knowledgeable source and confirmed it's edible. Sometimes one part of a plant is edible, such as rhubarb stems, while other parts are toxic (rhubarb leaves).

Also, make sure flowers you gather for eating from gardens or from the wild are free from contaminants like pesticides and herbicides, or even toxins released from motor vehicles that collect on plants on roadsides. Gently wash the flowers you gather, then let their alluring powers wash over you.

 

Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning freelance writer who has a lot of respect for flowers.