Salads are a summer-time staple, and a little sprinkling of carefully chosen edible flowers can add a pretty finish and a different taste dimension.
Some of the ones I think can be delicious can be really easily grown (or bought and re-grown) at home. Others you'll find fresh or dried at any good health shop. You'll also be able to find a few of the below blossoms growing wild; just be sure to only pick what you need so you don't impact on nature's natural way. Here goes...
Clare's Edible Flower Guide
It's not just the seeds, which are usually crushed and ground, that can be used in cooking. All parts of the plant are edible and the white, cow-parsley looking flowers have a herbal flavour that adds extra punch when sprinkled over salads, bean or vegetable dishes. Use it raw as when cooked, it looses its distinct flavour almost instantly.
Similar in look to the coriander flower, you'll find wild garlic flourishing all over UK woodlands right now. The tiny white petals are really herby and flavoursome; I plan on sprinkling them over some of these summer salads
as a healthy supper for friends.
This is a personal favourite of mine; I first tried the flower in a margarita
and I whole-heartedly recommend it! When travelling in Mexico last year, a host I stayed with offered me Hisbiscus tea (a customary Mexican ‘bebida’ or drink). The dried petals are boiled with water, allowed to cool and sugar is added. The result is a softly floral, herbal infusion that’s really refreshing. If you want to try it, you’ll find the petals in health stores and my top tip is be sure to add enough sugar as the flower can be bitter.
A vivid, cornflower blue hue is probably the reason that borage is becoming a really popular decoration in restaurants. This bloom goes far beyond being pretty though, it contributes a surprisingly fresh, cucumber-like peppery taste that’s perfect with seafood.
More commonly found in cordials, the elderflower brings a full floral bite to jams, gooseberries and this delicious gin cocktail
. This flower must be cooked though; so why not try our Gooseberry cake
, adding elderflower, which complements the tart fruit perfectly.
These are the flowers that seem to be everywhere at the moment; usually decorating deserts or salads as they're so pretty. They really don't taste of very much so save these ones for a finishing flourish on smoothies or something sweet.
If you like this idea and plan to give it a go, let us know how you get on. We'd love to hear from you in the comments box below or on Facebook
*It's important to note that while you can eat lots of flowers, there are also lots you can't; like azaleas, rhododendrons and any un-opened blossoms. My top tip is to always do your research first.