I can never seem to resist the urge to gussy up my food, occupational hazard, I guess. This time of year, with the garden in its full glory, the food stylist in me is drawn to working with the edible flowers...like a moth to the flame.
Here's a brief guide to some of the culinary blossoms I've been experimenting with lately:
of the flowers produced by your herb plants are edible. Basil,
thyme, dill, sage, oregano, chives, lemon balm all produce delicious blooms. Most are very close in flavour to the leaves of the plant, so substitute a few flowers wherever the recipe calls for the fresh herb.
- Nasturtiums have a sharp, peppery flavour, nice in salads. The little green pods can pickled as a substitute for capers.
- The petals of the Day Lily have a slightly sweet, some say melon-like flavour. They must be separated from the bitter white base before using.
- Johnny Jump Ups have a mild wintergreen like taste, making them a beautiful addition to many summer desserts or cocktails.
- Lavenders distinct floral flavour lends itself to both savory and sweet preparations. It is an important component of traditional the Herbs de Provence mix.
- Squash & Zucchini blossoms are a delicacy when stuffed with ricotta, and battered and fried.
- For a whole lot more information about edible flowers, click here
The blossoms of a chive generally appear around the middle of June, and only last a couple of weeks. They are easy to preserve though, just pickle 'em.
Scatter a few petals over any dish to add a little oniony zing. Once you've eaten up all of the flowers, the resulting vinegar will have taken on a pretty pink tint and the chive blossom flavour, great for salad dressings.
For a super simple vinaigrette , just combine 4 tablespoons of Hemp Oil with a tablespoon of chive blossom vinegar and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Shake to combine. Serve this dressing tossed over baby greens scattered with a few additional pickled chive petals and fresh nasturtium petals for a simple, beautiful, light salad.