The Legacy of Floral Edibles
Edible Flowers are a new trend? Not exactly. In fact, flowers have been used for culinary purposes for centuries, if not longer. But it is true, scrolling down the Instagram timelines of famous chefs and bartenders around the world, we see more and more tasteful floral arrangements.
Dipping into botanicas when crafting a recipe is opening a door into a whole new world of taste and textures…
We have asked several chefs and bartenders in our reach and gathered the most popular edible flower varieties, as well as some expert tips for some inspiration.
PRO TIP 1: SAFETY FIRST
When consuming plant materials, please stick to the known varieties. If you decide to go on a wildflower picking spree, don’t consume anything without identifying each flower without any doubt.
Make sure to always know which plant parts are safe to use and how to prepare them for the best performance. This is why it is always recommended to either buy edible flowers from a trusted vendor or consult a pro. As there are also many poisonous lookalikes to harmless herbaceous edibles, each consumed plant needs to be identified carefully.
A trusted vendor will also be able to share information on growing conditions and the use of chemicals.
PRO TIP 2: MORE THAN LOOKS
When you integrate flowers into your menu, make sure it is treated as the integral element it is, and consider the best match under the principles of taste, texture, and aesthetics.
It is important, that you use flowers for their contribution to taste and texture to make sure that all
elements of your drink or your dish form a holistic creation.
With this series, we want to dedicate several blog articles highlighting the taste and texture of the most interesting edible flowers on the market.
We will start with the Godmothers of edible flowers. They have been used for hundreds of years and don’t fail to impress in 2021. Here are two of the most popular flowers used in drinks and in dishes, garnished with some additional information on taste, texture, and colour.
The aroma of rose petals depends on the used variety and can show taste profiles from floral sweet, or fruity, similar to apples or strawberries. For cooking, the most fragrant varieties are suitable such as can have sweet floral flavour. The best varieties for cooking are actually the old varieties, being the most fragrant: The white and pink Rugosa rose, for example, have single flowers with silky petals, perfect for adding light and airy impact. Interesting alternatives are Damask or Gallica roses. When using rose, make sure to remove the white base parts of each petal, as these are sour and can manipulate the rose aroma.
According to Koppert Cress, a Netherlands-based supplier of high-quality edible flowers and micro greens, bean blossoms are a genius allrounder for the kitchen. The aroma of the blossoms is described as sweet, salty-sour, with a hint of bitter, and helps to add that infamous “Umami” to your dish. And if you are into waste reduction: Keep reading!
Not only the blossoms are edible. The tender, young leaves are delicious in salads, and older leaves are an alternative to spinach, and outrageously good when sauteed with a little butter and garlic. Harvested young, the pods can be prepared like sugar snaps, but if they mature on the plant they will form nutritious beans. And last, but not least we have beautiful edible flowers that can come in pink, red, white, and purple shades.
FUN Fact: The graciously flowering Scarlet Runner beans were actually introduced into European horticulture as a strictly ornamental plant. Only in the last century, the pods and the red blossoms became increasingly popular as a food crop. Koppert Cress recommends storing bean blossoms in a cold environment between 2 and 7 °C.
In our next blog, we will highlight the edible flowers from the herb family and their usage in the kitchen and bars.