Flower cookery, using edible flowers to add flavor to the food can be traced back to the Roman period. It’s also mentioned in Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian civilizations. In the west it became popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. Today, its again making a comeback in the world cuisine. The celebrity chefs add elegance and flavor to their entrees by garnishing them with flower blossoms.
Seven Edible Flowers
- Balloon Flower
This flower is one of the main ingredients in sweet Japanese sake. Its also used in soups and stews. The root of this plant is also edible and used by the Koreans in their salads. The root is cut into fine strips and seasoned with vinegar, chili powder, salt, soy salt and sesame oil.
- Banana flower
Banana blossoms are tear shaped and used in South East Asian cuisine. It can be cooked as a veggie delicacy, added to the soups, curries and salads. Its also a common vegetable in the southern parts of India.
- Black Locust
The flowers of this tree are a harvest in spring and a popular ingredient in exotic Italian dishes. These blossoms are coated with flour or pastella to make fritters.
In Brazil and Egypt, tea made from hibiscus is very popular. In Mexico, you get to buy the dried hibiscus in grocery shops. These are used in cooking and cocktails to add flavor. In UK, these are preserved in syrup.
Honeysuckle sorbet, cupcakes, jelly, and cordial are popular these days. This flower has a sweet smell and the nectar is highly flavored. They are favorite food of the humming birds. Honeysuckle teas are also popular in the China and in the countries lying in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Star flower
Star flowers grow in plenty in Syria. It has a honey like taste, therefore its highly valued. Used in salads, crystallized in sugar syrup to make “flower candies” for desserts. The oil extract from this flower is known to regulate blood pressure and the metabolism.
This sweet smelling flower is usually crystallized to candies, made into jelly and used in many desserts to add flavor and elegance. This flower is crushed, boiled and mixed with rice flour to make sweet porridge. In the UK, the violet blossoms are preserved in syrups to be made into scones and marshmallows.
Chefs are reviving this lost art of edible flowers. A simple tip when using edible flowers is, avoid adding too many strong flavors that will kill the delicate flavor and taste of the edible blossoms.