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Edible flowers

gardening

Edible flowers

words by
kristee semmler // the barossa nursery

In the world of restaurants and food it is well known that people ‘eat with their eyes’ first. 

Food these days is a multi-sensory experience with chefs constantly looking to make their dishes look like a work of art. Just watch Masterchef and famous chef’s like Heston. 

Now, unfortunately we don’t all have access to the tools and skills (or time) of award winning chefs, but there is a very simple way to impress at your next dinner party and make your chosen dish ‘shine’ with visual allure (the taste is up to you!) 

Edible flowers are such a simple way to beautify food and I’m going to look at a few of the favourites:

Nasturtiums

The good thing about this little plant
is you can eat the leaves and the flowers. 

Nasturtiums pack a great mustard
/peppery punch and the bright red,
orange and yellow flowers look fantastic in salads adding a brilliant touch of colour and interest. 

You’ll never serve a boring looking salad again with nasturtium flowers!

Viola ‘Johnny Jump Up’

These are just the happiest looking
little flowers and they flower profusely! 

Johnny jump ups look so gorgeous when sugared/crystalised or even just fresh and placed on top of cakes and cupcakes. 

It’s easy and cute and will make any cupcake look oh so adorable!

Borage

This medicinal plant has such bright
blue star flowers that have a sweet
honey-like taste. 

They look great as a garnish, in cocktails or on top of desserts. 

Another great idea is to freeze them in ice cube trays so when you serve drinks even the ice looks pretty – great for a Spring garden party. 

The leaves of borage are also edible
and have a fresh cucumber type flavour. 

Lavender

Lavender ice cream anyone? Dried lavender flowers can be used many ways in cooking from lavender sugar in buns and cakes to lavender infused lemonade. 

It has a beautiful subtle floral flavour
and also looks great as a garnish on
cakes or cocktails. 

Calendula

These bright yellow and orange flowers look so gorgeous on a plate. 

They are also really good for you being high in antioxidants which help keep our immune system healthy. 

Calendula flowers can be eaten raw or cooked in dishes such as salads, quiches, frittatas, soups, stews and drinks. 

This is another flower that looks so beautiful when frozen in an ice cube in drinks. 

Use the petals or whole flowers as a garnish on any dish to make it look beautiful.

Zucchini flowers

One of my favourite dishes – stuff zucchini flowers with a mix of ricotta or goat’s cheese and herbs, lemon or bacon (or whatever takes your fancy) and then batter and fry – delicious! 

The good thing about zucchinis is they are easy to grow and you get plenty of flowers to use for this. 

If you miss a flower you get the added bonus of a zucchini fruit to eat instead.

Roses

Not only are rose flowers beautiful in the garden, but their petals can be used in many edible dishes. 

They have a subtle fruity-floral flavour and can be used in everything from desserts and cocktails to teas, jams and jellies. 

The rule of thumb in terms of choosing the right petals is generally the more fragrant the rose is the more flavoursome the petals. 

Once again rose petals also look lovely as a garnish over cakes and salads, and oh so easy!

Happy Gardening!

Regardless of your culinary skills in the kitchen, it is so easy to add edible flowers to your next meal. 

They can make the ordinary look extraordinary. They have a natural beauty that is incomparable to artificial decorations and look really striking on a plate. 

Edible flowers are easy to grow and as an added bonus will make your garden look pretty too! Make an impression at your next dinner party with edible flowers!

Kristee Semmler

THE BAROSSA NURSERY