Please Eat the Flowers, part 2

Now that summertime flowers are starting to show their lovely selves, we have even more edible flowers to add to our menus. Delicious possibilities abound.

Just remember the safety precautions: don’t use anything unless you know for sure it’s edible, and only use flowers from plants that you know have not been treated with any pesticides or herbicides or anything else icky.

 

Daylilies. The petals have a taste somewhere between sweet and savory, and the knockout colors enliven anything you add them to. Just be sure you know a daylily from Asiatics, Orientals, or any other kind; only daylilies are edible.

     It takes a bit of practice, but a very elegant way to use them is to create lily “cups” and fill them with tuna salad, chicken salad, or something similar. Or put out a beautiful platter with selections of several types of salad, using different color lilies. To make the cups, start with whole flowers (not individual petals) and carefully snip out the pistils and stamens with your fingernails or manicure scissors.

Roses. The sweetness of a rose’s fragrance is echoed in its taste, and so roses are ideal as garnishes for desserts or other sweet dishes. Frost cupcakes with pale pink icing, then nestle a tiny rosebud in the center. Slice large red petals into thin ribbons and sprinkle them over the whipped cream that tops berry cobbler. Cover ivory-colored panna cotta with deep pink petals. And if you want to go all out, infuse the cream with the essence of roses before you complete the panna cotta recipe. Send me a note here, and I’ll tell you how to do that.

Begonias. (I mean tuberous begonias, not wax begonias.) They have the most amazing tart, tangy, lemony taste, a crisp texture, and they come in knock-your-socks-off colors.  To use them, think about anything you’re serving that would be enhanced by the tart taste of lemons, and fold in the flower petals, either whole or diced, whatever seems to fit. [more on next page]

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