Ever wondered what flowers you could use to garnish a salad with or to add a little interest to a simple summer dish? Maybe you have spotted a cake decorated with edible flowers and would love to learn more. Well here's our quick guide to some of the nations favourite flowers that you can eat!
~ Bergamot - this has a slightly spicy taste and is great for use with bacon, chicken, pasta and rice dishes, you can also make tea from its leaves.
~ Daisy - not a huge show stopper on taste but its delicate little petals are great as a garnish.
~ Elderflower - this makes the most beautiful tasting cordial or even wine! It can also be used to flavour jellies or even dipped in batter and fried! You need to be quick though as the flowers are only in season for a short while during May/June.
~ Lavender - with its instantly recognisable scent can be used in delicious cakes and biscuits, it can also be popped alongside a Sunday roast pork or lamb joint.
~ Nasturtium - this is probably one of the better known flowers that you can eat. It has a slightly peppery taste but the brightly coloured flowers make them perfect to add to a summer salad, or pasta dish to add a little interest and catch the eye.
~ Pot Marigold - great for use in soups and stews as it has a slightly peppery taste.
~ Primrose - so pretty! The flower can be crystallised and used to decorate cakes or added to ice cubes to create that wow factor at a summer drinks party! Scented geranium flowers can also be crystallised and put in ice cubes.
~ Rose - delicate petals from scented roses can help add a little taste and fragrance to icing, and you can also crystallise the petals for decorating cakes and goodies with.
~ Sweet violet - these have a delicate flavour and make a pretty little garnish.
But if these blooms don't wet your appetite, don't forget you can also raid your vegetable and herb garden for more edible flowers.
Borage for example has a beautiful blue flower perfect for garnishing salads or putting inside an ice cube. Basil flowers work well with tomato dishes and dill with its aniseed flavour is great with fish and salads. Basil, Marjoram, Thyme and Rosemary flowers can be added to oils to give them a little more flavour and used to make salad dressings.
And last but not least, the flowers and young shoots from pea plants are a lovely accompaniment to salads. Go on give them a try!
(TOP TIP - pick flowers first thing in the morning in dry weather to help retain their colour and flavour for longer.)
So we hope we have inspired you to take a new look at the flowers in your garden to see what else they have up their sleeves. Have you been tempted to make floral ice cubes to impress your summer guests or will your cake decorating and salads never be the same again!?
A word of caution - do remember to identify the flower correctly as some flowers are poisonous, if in doubt don't eat! Only use flowers from your garden as this ensures they haven't been treated with pesticides or herbicides.