Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flower Garden for Tasty Recipes

Get all the best and tasty recipes at your flowering garden. These small efforts and others below can make your meals more fun and your kitchen garden the talk of the neighborhood.

BLUE VINEGAR: Borage flower corollas can be soaked in vinegar to make vinegar blue. (I start the soak about 30 minutes before serving while I prepare the rest of the salad.) Combine the vinegar with your favorite oil as salad dressing. A mix of rose petals and borage or anchusa petals tossed with your favorite greens makes a colorful and delicious salad to use with this dressing. While borage flowers taste like cucumbers, that is usually masked by the more assertive vinegar.

VIOLET SYRUP: I use it on crepes, poundcake and fresh, chopped fruit that needs a little sweetening. The following recipe from flower in your garden makes almost 1/2 cup of syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cups Labrador violets (Viola labradorica), Johnny-jump-ups (V. tricolor) or pansy petals (I usually remove pansy stems). For the best color, use the darkest flowers available.
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (an option I add to brighten flavor)
Stir together all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Strain the syrup to harvest more of the color and syrup.

FLOWER SUN TEA: Steep aromatic petals of roses, anchusa (Anchusa azurea), bee balm, borage, honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), honeyberry (Lonicera kamtschatica), jasmine, lavender, pansies, pineapple sage, pinks, poppies (Papaver rhoeas, P. somniferum), Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and/or violets in water in the sun for about two hours before drinking. Do not soak overnight as the tea will become bitter. The flowers lend color and the pollen reflects light to give a crystalline look. Strain out the flowers or leave them in, but use the tea soon after soaking.

EAT THE RIGHT PARTS: Of the many edible flowers, only some are edible in their entirety. In others, only the petals are considered edible while other parts are bitter or otherwise unpleasant.

EAT THE WHOLE FLOWER: Arugula, basil, bean, bee balm, borage, citrus, daylily, jasmine, Johnny-jump-ups, lilac, nasturtium, pansies, pea, pineapple sage, rosemary, runner bean blossoms, thyme and violets. A runner bean named 'Painted Lady' is bicolor (red and white) and is among the best-tasting of all bean flowers.

EAT ONLY THE PETALS: Calendulas, chrysanthemums, lavender, roses and tulips.

EAT AT ONLY PETALS BUT NOT THEIR BASE: The petals of some flowers, such as Dianthus, marigolds and roses, need their bitter white base removed before they are eaten.