April Showers Bring Edible May Flowers

Edible Rose Petals

What is that massive flower doing on your dinner plate?  As if yesteryear’s giant sprigs of parsley weren’t bad enough, the flowers cropping up on today’s restaurant plates have many people wondering if garnish has gone too far into the garden.

But just because we’re seeing these floral garnishes for the first time doesn’t make them new.  The truth is, edible flower garnishes date back to Roman times and enjoyed their heyday during Queen Victoria’s reign.  Like all trends, they tend to circle around again.

If you want to emulate your favorite “Top Chef” dish, be careful—you can’t go out to your garden and eat the first flower you pluck.  Not all flowers are edible, and you should never eat flower blossoms that have been sprayed with pesticides.  People with asthma and allergies should avoid eating flowers altogether, and even the average person should avoid consuming flowers in large quantities.  With that disclaimer said, here are some edible flowers you can use to add a touch of elegance and a pop of color to your next culinary masterpiece:

Impatiens – These multi-colored flowers offer a sweet flavor that complements salads or drinks.

Lavender – These striking lavender-colored blooms feature a sweet, floral flavor with a hint of citrus.  Their versatile flavors can be used in desserts, savory dishes, or even dropped in a glass of champagne.

Lilac – Although each lilac variety tastes different, these fragrant plants display a distinct, slightly floral, lemon flavor.  Lilacs work well in salads or as part of a meringue.

Marigold – The spicy, slightly citrus marigold can be used as a substitute for expensive saffron.

Rose – This sweet, aromatic flower produces a strong rose flavor great for garnishing desserts, salads, or drinks.  Believe it or not, all roses are edible, but be sure to remove the bitter white part of the petals before serving.

Sunflower – When steamed and eaten in its bud phase, the sunflower tastes like an artichoke.  Mature petals can also be eaten, but they have a strong bitter flavor.

Tulip Petals – Each tulip variety tastes different, but flavors can resemble cucumber, sweet lettuce, or baby peas.

Most flowers that grow with your favorite herbs, fruits, and vegetables can also be eaten, such as ginger and sage blossoms, apple and banana blossoms, and pea and squash blossoms.  Some vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes, are all flowers themselves!  Who knew flowers could be so versatile and delicious?

Now that you’re familiar with edible flowers and what they’re doing on your dinner plate, you might even find yourself growing some ambrosial blooms!  If you take to a green thumb, trust Kyocera’s paring knife to help your flowers look their best on the plate.  The 3-inch blade is perfect for delicate and intricate tasks, like separating petals or trimming flowers for garnish.  Like flowers, the knife handles also come in a variety of eye-catching colors to complement any décor.  And if cooking with flowers isn’t your cup of tea, this trend will pass in time—but don’t you want to be practiced for the next time it circles around?

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