Archive | January 26, 2008

Did You Know? Edible Flowers


Broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes are all flowers. The top portion of broccoli are actually flower buds. Over time the top will burst into a bright yellow flower, hence the name broccoli “florets.” The small yellow flowers have a mild spiciness (mild broccoli flavor), and are perfect for salads and stir-fry (unless of course, you don’t like broccoli). 

The spice saffron is the stamen from the crocus flower.  Dried Mexican saffron (Safflower) is used as a food colorant in place of the more expensive and pungent Spanish Saffron. 

Capers are unopened flower buds to a bush native in the Mediterranean and Asian nations. 

Carnation petals are sweet and  can be used in wine, candy, or deserts such as cake decorating. Carnation petals are one of “secret ingredients” that has been used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur, since the 17th century. 

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Check out the 234 Edible Flowers Suitable for Winemaking for a list of other flowers that can be used in wines.

Pressing Your Flowers


“Wildflowers blossom best among the rocks with a little water.” 
The Sopranos

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PRESSING THOSE SPECIAL FLOWERS…

Flower’s and foliage achieve the best results when they are fresh. When all moisture is removed you will achieve the best results for pressing. If you are unable to press them immediately upon purchasing or picking them, I suggest you place them in zip-seal bags filled with air and store in a cool place e.g. the refrigerator.When you’re ready to press, use a soft brush to remove any debris that may be on the petals and leaves. There are two easy ways to press flowers.1. Between books Pages – Place flowers between 2 sheets of paper to protect the pages of the book or place between 2 large books. It will take 1-2 weeks for them to dry thoroughly.

2. Flower Presses – Flower presses are very inexpensive to purchase.  You can even make your own using two vice grips and a solid wood about 1/4 to 1/4 inch in thickness.

Layer your flowers in the press by cutting pieces of cardboard and newsprint (or blotting paper) to fit between the boards of the press.Colour retention will be improved if you put the flowers between sheets of paper and change daily or at the very least every couple of days.Note:  Flowers turn brown when they don’t dry quick enough and should be discarded.