The History of Edible Flowers
Edible flower records date back to early 100 BC in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Rose-petal water is a popular edible flower application that can be traced to past civilizations. Flowers have been used for millennia as remedies in medicinal practices on almost every continent. It is no surprise that the tradition of edible flowers has been seen in contemporary society. Let’s go over some common and exotic edible flower varieties to spice up your next cocktail party.
Word of Warning: First and foremost, there is a safety consideration when dealing with ingesting any botanical herb. Flowers are no exception and it is important to pay attention to the species of flower. So, before you start devouring your neighbors’ tulips, do your homework on the species. Some are edible and downright tasty. While others can put you in the hospital or worse. For instance, the Delphinium flower, or larkspur, will cause weakness, drooling, paralysis, abdominal pain, and even death if consumed. Another beautiful variety, the lily of the valley, is capable of inducing seizures and bouts of vomiting. If you are unsure, always ask a professional.
So which flowers are safe to eat?
Below is a list of some of our favorite flowers that taste great:
Marigold - Part of the daisy family, they are usually yellow, orange, or brown flowers. They have spicy, tangy, or peppery flavors that resemble saffron.
Basil - This common culinary additive is the perfect garnish to any spring or summer salad. A popular addition to many Italian dishes or try to mix it up with a little Thai basil in your favorite Thai soup, stir fry, or curry. In the peak of summer, look for cool varieties of lemon and chocolate basil.
Chamomile - A member of the Asteraceae family, this herb is dried and infused into hot water to make a delicious tea. Benefits of this libation include improved sleep quality, improving digestion, cancer prevention, blood sugar control, and lower blood pressure.
Pansies - Known to have a delicate aroma, the blue-flowered varieties have a mild wintergreen taste.
Violets - High in vitamin A and C Violet flowers and leaves are a healthy option to beautify your salads.
Roses - The leaves, petals, hips and buds of the rose are edible. Try adding roses to a container of water and allowing it to sit. Like the Ancient Greeks, rose water is the perfect floral-infused tonic to add to your favorite spring cocktail.
Chives - The stalk of the Chive is a popular herbal ingredient that gives a pleasant boost of flavor. Try to use them raw as cooking may destroy the delicate flavors, they possess. Chives are perfect on eggs of all types. Chive Oil is also fun!
Dill - Perhaps the best-known ingredient in canned pickles in your grocery aisles. Dill makes a great addition to any cured salmon or tuna. Try adding it to your next batch of fire-roasted potatoes for another blast of delicious flavor.
If you're looking to make a refreshing floral drink, consider some of these floral-infused recipes below. Here are easy instructions for making your own dandelion wine and rosewater.
This yellow flower resonates with simplistic beauty and is also a great winemaking ingredient. Here is a great Dandelion Wine recipe to try.
- 1-gallon dandelion petals
- 3-4 gallons of distilled water
- 3 pounds of sugar
- 3 oranges, peeled and rough chopped
- 3 lemons, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 package of dry yeast
Wine Preparation Instructions:
Remove dandelion petals, rinse thoroughly, and place them into your desired vessel. Boil the water and pour on top of the separated petals so that they are covered (should be between 2-5 inches). Take a cheesecloth and cover your vessel. Let it sit in a cool room (basements work well) for three days. After your solution has been allowed to sit, strain out the liquid using a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot (you can use a soup pot for this).
Add your sugar to the vessel, along with your rough chopped fruit. Bring to a boil and cover for 20 minutes. Allow your solution to cool, and strain back into your original vessel. Add the yeast packet to the solution and re-cover with cheesecloth. Allow your solution to sit, at room temperature, for two to three weeks. During this process of fermentation, the yeast will begin converting the sugar in your solution to alcohol and bubbling will occur. Do not fear, this is normal and part of the winemaking process. Once the bubbling has gone to completion, strain again through another cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and store into sanitized bottles. Sanitization is very important, so bacteria and wild yeast are not introduced. We've linked to several sterilization options. Age bottles for one more week and enjoy!
Rose Water Recipe
There are two universally excepted methods for making rosewater. The easiest way is to simmer your rose petals in water. This method is best for quick use recipes that do not require long storage conditions. The second is distillation, which requires more effort, but delivers a more stable product that can be used for longer periods of time.
The first step in both methods is choosing the rose variety. There are many different selections, however, we suggest using roses directly from a garden.
Application for Rosewater can be used as a hygienic fragrance in your favorite scented oils and DIY skin creams. Additionally, you can add your homemade Rosewater to your linen as an added fragrance booster. The Most popular uses for rosewater in a culinary context are teas, yogurts, and flavored beverages like lemonade, sparkling sodas, and cocktails.
How to Make Rosewater
- Saucepan and associated lid
- Cheesecloth or Fine Mesh Strainer
- Dark bottle that offers protection from the sun (storage)
- Rose petals (From Your Garden)
- Dry rose petals in the microwave. Take a plate and line with a paper towel. Line paper towel with a single layer of rose petals. Cover rose petals another sheet of paper towel. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. The petals should be dry. If not, microwave additional time to dry.
- Add 1/4 cup of dried rose petals to saucepan.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups water into your saucepan.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce temperature to the lowest setting that still allows the water to simmer.
- Simmer until the color fades. This takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Leave the lid on and cool completely.
- Pour water and petals through the cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer into a dark, clean bottle. You can use a funnel or strain into a measuring bowl with a pour spout and then pour into your dark bottle.
- Store in the refrigerator for several weeks or on the counter for up to one week.