Twenty One Rules of Edible Flowers


21 Rules of Edible Flowers

The use of flowers in food dates back thousands of years to the Chinese, Greek and Romans. And with the resurgence of the world’s desire to save the planet, the interest in edible flowers has become more desirable. In keeping with the current “trends” people may want to experiment with flowers and plants more as a food source.  However there are some rules or guidelines you must keep in mind when experimenting. First of all, remember that even if the flower isn’t poisonous does not mean it’s edible.

Before partaking of flowers , review these 21 simple rules:

  1. Before consuming any flowers,  consult a good reference book on edible flowers to be certain they can be used in your recipes and eaten.
  2. Choose flowers that are free from pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. Opt for organic or grow your own in a controlled environment.
  3. Harvest flowers at their peak freshness for the best flavor and nutritional value.
  4. Be aware of any allergies you or your guests may have. Some flowers can trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals.
  5. Because some flowers may aggravate allergies, it is best to start small when introducing edible flowers into your meal plans.
  6. Not all flowers used as “garnish” or decorations on plates are edible. When in doubt, ask the server or chef or simply “throw it out.”
  7. When growing your edible flowers only use pesticides when necessary and only those  products labeled for use on edible crops.
  8. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers. It is common for these flowers have been treated with pesticides that are not considered safe for edible crops.
  9. Never eat flowers picked from the side of the road.
  10. Eat only the flower petals and prepare according to recipes. Remove the pistils and stamens from flowers when preparing your dishes.
  11. Different flavors occur in plants when grown in different locations because of soil types, fertilization, and culture. Environmental conditions play a big role as well. What has excellent flavor at one time may taste different at the end of the season or the next year.
  12. Experiment with different flavor combinations. Some flowers have subtle flavors that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes.
  13. To avoid digestive problems, it is a good idea to introduce flowers into your diet in small quantities one species at a time. Too
  14. Collect flowers at the optimum time. Pick fully open flowers in the cool of the day. Avoid flowers that are starting to wilt.
  15. Sample the flower for taste. If it’s bitter and you expected it to be sweet, you may not want to use it just yet.
  16. Flowers mature at different rates (just like people) and depending on the soil, time of year and weather conditions, this year’s crop may have a totally different taste than those used in previous harvests. 
  17. Store edible flowers properly to maintain their freshness. Refrigerate them in a sealed container lined with a damp paper towel.
  18. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Edible flowers can add zest to your recipes, they add a whole new variety of flavors and colors that you may never have experiences. 
  19. Use edible flowers as garnishes to enhance the visual appeal of dishes. They can add a pop of color and elegance to plates.
  20. Take advantage of seasonal blooms. Different flowers are available at different times of the year, so adjust your recipes accordingly.
  21. Be aware of any regulations regarding the harvesting and sale of edible flowers in your area. Some species may be protected or subject to restrictions.

Have fun experimenting and experiencing the new dimension they can bring to your cooking.

Source: Horticulture News http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1995/7-21-1995/eatflow.html