You’re probably already eating flowers without even knowing it. Many tasty herbs, spices, and flavorings are derived directly from flowers. Check some of the ingredients of your favorite items and you might be shocked to see that they are already commonly used in drinks, marinades or rubs, and in side dishes like rice & other grains. Surprisingly enough, these tiny plants are packed full of nutrients and magnificent flavors that you just can’t find anywhere else.
Health Benefits of Floral Cooking
Flowers aren’t only a beautiful addition to any plate, they actually have many health benefits when ingested. For example, flowers like hibiscus, orange blossom, and roses have been used for nausea, rashes, and even to ease pain - like menstrual cramping.
Some flowers are packed with minerals and vitamins, like lavender which contains vitamin A to maintain the eyes and skin, calcium for strong bones, and iron for healthy muscles. Lavender has also been known to restore the body and skin by reducing redness and inflammation.
Lavender and jasmine have antiseptic properties which can help remove any bad bacteria living in the intestines. This will also help with issues such as bloating, stomach aches, and constipation.
Orange blossom, jasmine, rose, and lavender are all also used as natural sleep aids. Whether ingested in a tea or the flowers directly, each of these can be used to help ease mild cases of insomnia.
The hibiscus flower is high in vitamin C which helps to build a powerful immune system. It has even been used to reduce blood pressure over time, protect good liver function, and lower cholesterol levels in the body.
It’s a good idea to learn a little bit more about the individual flowers you decide to work with. Many flowers have quite a few variations, which may make a huge difference on the taste, texture, and smell of the flower you’re working with.
It’s actually quite easy to add some edible flowers into your diet. Frequently chefs use flowers in gourmet cooking by diluting the flower into a water, oil, or sauce. However, adding the flower directly into your meal works just as well. Just keep in mind that flowers are delicate plants and can’t withstand as much heat as regular food items can. Consuming a flower as close to raw as possible will ensure the vitamins and minerals contained within are not compromised during the cooking process and can be absorbed by the body.
Rose Jam - Feasting at Home
Roses actually pair handsomely with desserts and sugary treats. This heavenly rose jam is sure to tickle your senses.
- 1 ½ cup of filtered water
- 2 ounces or 2 lightly filled cups of rose petals
- 2 cups of cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of fruit pectin
Hibiscus Vinaigrette - Tasty Yummies
Hibiscus tends to have a tangy taste that is almost fruit-like. The acidity of the flower lends itself to fruity drinks and even salad dressings.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime Juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup of dried hibiscus petals
- Salt and pepper to taste
Lavender Potatoes - Boulder Locavore
Lavender is potent (but also soft and fragrant) enough that it holds its own with bold flavors. Even when served with a main dish, this ingredient won’t lose it’s shine.
- 2-2 1/2 pounds of potatoes (any kind)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons of dried lavender
- Salt and pepper to taste
Orange Blossom Margarita - Food Network
While still floral and aromatic, the orange blossom has a well-rounded, sweet taste that is commonly used in syrups and flavored waters.
- 2 ounces tequila
- 1 ½ ounces lime juice
- 1 ounce agave syrup
- ½ ounce orange flavored liqueur
- ½ to 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- Garnish with orange slice
Sweet Jasmine Rice - Nutrition Stripped
Jasmine has an alluring scent that is attractive as a tea or when added to rice or other side dishes. When used in oil or flower form it can be quite strong. A little will go a long way.
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 cups water (coconut milk can be used instead)
- 1-2 tablespoons of agave
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Add your favorite curried veggies on top!