Edible Flowers. Delight Eyes and Palate

By Anne-Marie Kovacs, Chief Wife

I was reviewing photos for Audrey’s piece on Rancho La Puerta (published just last week), when I came across a photo of one our delicious meals taken there one evening. All dishes were adorned with fresh and colorful sprouts, herbs and… flowers. Of the edible, organic kind, bien sûr. That got me thinking that I  could be doing this at home too, to dress up meals – and cocktails – for more festive occasions. We’ve all seen flower adornments on food & drink at many a chichi catered event, but now it’s easier than ever to DIY and make an otherwise ordinary plate or presentation platter come bloom to life.

A word to the wise. Not all flowers are edible. Your local florist should only be the provider of the flowers you plan on displaying, NOT of the ones you plan on ingesting. But, here are some suggestions on where and how to come by edible flowers:

 Buy Edible Flowers – Fresh edible flowers can be purchased at many specialty gourmet shops. Or you can find find Melissa’s Assorted Edible Flowers online through Amazon. If you have a specific flower or flavor profile in mind (pansies? orchids? rose petals?), check out Marx Foods edible flowers. Use them not only as plate and drink garnishes, but also in ice cubes (drop some petals in ice cube trays with water and freeze). Lavender flowers in ice cubes for a summer lemonade. Dreamy.
 Grow Your Edible Flowers – If, unlike me, you happen to have a semblance of a green thumb, you might enjoy growing your own edible garden. It would make the best economic sense. I like this book, The Edible Front Yard, because it proposes such a common sense approach to landscaping your front yard. If you’re going to plant it, make it edible! It covers more than just flowers, for a nice balance. Other books in this category include Easy Growing and The Edible Flower Garden.
 Crystallized Flowers, Buy or DIY - Candied flowers are a beautiful way to decorate cakes and pastries, or fun to drop in tea to sweeten it instead of using the regular granular (boring) sugar. Crystallized flowers are pretty easy to do yourself. The basic principle is to brush the edible flowers with egg white and cover with fine sugar. Here are more precise DIY instructions to make crystallized flowers. Of course, these are also available for purchase. Try Marx Foods for the high end variety or you can also find some on Amazon.
 Cocktails Featuring Edible Flowers – More into libations than desserts? Edible flowers have their place here too. Here are some recipes that use flowers as the main ingredient inspiration to prepare flower syrups and liqueurs. These are beautiful and delightful to use in fancy cocktails, spritzers, lemonade, ice tea and as dessert drizzles. Fresh flower syrup? Sounds beautiful.
Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup - Drop these gorgeous and romantic blooms at the bottom of a champagne glass for an instant wow effect. These also make a beautiful adornment on a dessert plate. These edible hibiscus flowers come packaged in syrup. They taste fruity, with notes of raspberry and rhubarb. They are available at WildHibiscus.com, at many specialty grocers or an Amazon.

 

What’s summer without flowers. I say, let’s put them on our plates too!

 

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