As spring unfurls its vibrant tapestry, gardens come alive with blossoms that tantalise not just the eyes but also the palate. The tradition of using flowers in culinary creations dates back centuries, blending the lines between gastronomy and art. Read all about our favourite edible flowers, nature’s gourmet gift.
Plantland’s top-picked edible flowers
Roses, with their timeless allure, have been cherished across cultures. The ancient Romans used them in lavish feasts, while in the East, they’ve been a culinary staple for ages.
Beyond the classic rose petal jam, roses lend themselves to a variety of dishes. Their petals can be used in butter, sorbets, and even Middle Eastern dishes like rose petal pilaf. Their subtle, fruity notes are also perfect for infusing oils and different kinds of vinegar.
Growing tips: Roses thrive in well-draining soil with at least six hours of sunlight. Regular pruning encourages more blooms, and remember to water them at the base to prevent fungal diseases.
Lavender, native to the Mediterranean, was cherished by the ancient Egyptians and Romans for its fragrance and medicinal properties.
Lavender‘s sweet floral notes with a hint of mint make it a favourite in desserts. Lavender shortbread, cookies, and even crème brûlée are popular choices. It’s also a delightful addition to roasted meats and stews.
Growing tips: Lavender prefers full sun and well-draining soil. It’s drought-resistant once established, making it a low-maintenance choice for gardens.
Hibiscus, especially the Roselle variety, has been cultivated for culinary purposes in Africa and Asia for centuries.
The petals, with their cranberry-like flavour, are perfect for syrups, jams, and beverages. Hibiscus tea, a popular drink in many cultures, is both refreshing and packed with antioxidants.
Growing tips: Hibiscus plants love sunlight and moist, well-draining soil. Regularly pruning the older stems will encourage bushier growth and more blooms.
Dianthuses, native predominantly to Europe and Asia, add that touch of colour to your spring garden.
The buds and petals can be added to your garden salads, or used as decorative elements for cakes and desserts.
Growing tips: Dianthuses optimal growing conditions are in full sun, planted in well drained soil.
5. Viola hederacea
While not as well-known as its cousins, the pansies and violets, viola hederacea has been a garden favourite for its delicate blooms.
Its mild, grassy notes make it perfect for garnishing. From salads to desserts, they add a touch of elegance.
This plant prefers cooler climates and moist, humus-rich soil. It’s best grown in partial shade. You may also be interested in: Create a wildlife-friendly garden to welcome backyard visitors.
Ideas for using edible flowers:
Salads: A mix of petals can elevate a simple salad, both visually and in flavour. Desserts: Garnish cakes, tarts, and puddings with vibrant petals for a touch of elegance. Drinks: Infuse waters, teas, and cocktails with floral notes for a refreshing twist.
Main courses: Flowers like lavender and rose can be used in marinades and sauces for meats.
Edible flowers can elevate everyday dishes, turning them into gourmet delights. They’re not just about aesthetics; they offer a unique flavour profile, adding depth and complexity to dishes. From garnishing cocktails to infusing oils, the possibilities are endless.
Safety tip: Always ensure that the flowers you’re consuming are free from pesticides and are specifically grown for culinary purposes.
Spring is a celebration of life, colours, and flavours. With Plantland, explore the world of edible flowers and let your culinary creations mirror the beauty and vibrancy of the season.