Flower petals in the most sophisticated healthy gastronomy set trends. Learn to incorporate the main ones in your own home.
Not all flowers are suitable for consumption. It is advisable to consume well-identified flowers of safe origin. If you don't know which ones or how to choose, this is an initial guide for beginners.
The most accepted
In Italy, zucchini flowers have always been used to fill pasta, such as ravioli, and in croquettes. In Mexican cuisine, pumpkin blossoms (sweet, with a slight bitterness) are used for preparations such as tamales and soups.
It is an annual plant that blooms abundantly in winter and spring. It also fulfills the function of keeping insects that can harm our harvest at bay. These yellow, orange or even bicolor flowers have a bitter taste and are used together with the leaves to flavor drinks.
The petals (ligules) are used raw, in sweet or savory salads, and in egg-containing preparations such as quiches, cakes, and puddings.
With the petals of these flowers -in all their varieties- sweets are prepared, such as the traditional rosehip variety. They are also used in cakes, delicate and smooth sauces, fruit salads and to make pickled baby chicks.
The petals can also be caramelised to incorporate into neutral or slightly sweet preparations, or they can be fried to make tortillas.
Rose hips (fruits) are used to make jams and syrups. For consumption of the fresh fruit of the rose, the seeds and hairs should be removed, since they can irritate the mucous membranes. The dried leaves and roots are used to make tea.
They provide aromas to cakes and pastries. Pelargonium graveolens (rose), Pelargonium crispum (lemon), Pelargonium odoratissimum (apple), and Pelargonium tormentosum (mint) require selecting the freshest flowers, as they quickly lose their aroma.
(Bellis perenne) It is an annual plant, except in cold areas, where it is a perennial specimen. It can be incorporated into salads and used to decorate dishes and drinks.
Claves and carnations (Dianthus)
They are perennial plants, typical of cold climates, they bloom in spring and summer. They have flowers of interesting shapes and attractive colors, which can accompany salads or decorate meringues and creams.
Spring (Priimula polyanthus)
It occurs as a deciduous plant in cold climates, but in more temperate zones it is grown as an annual. It blooms in winter, with unusual colors such as dark blue, terracotta, purple and light blue, it can also be bicolor, or pink or salmon. Its petals are used in salads or to decorate.
Pansies and Violas (Viola tricolor, V. wittrockiana)
These annuals are planted in early fall and bloom in the fall, winter, and spring. The petals can be used in sweet or savory salads, adding unusual colors such as terracotta, black, lilac, violet, purple, yellow, orange, gray. Accompanying cheeses, they are irresistible. Violet flowers have no scent.
In ancient Greece they were symbols of fertility. They bloom in late winter and, with their fragrance, herald spring. Its flowers, in violet, white, light blue, pink, purple or yellow, are used as a decorative element and a mild flavor ingredient in desserts, sweet and savory salads; for tortillas; crystallized with sugar in pastries, and are also used to make liquor. They can be eaten fresh, dried or candied. The leaves, raw or cooked, are often used to thicken soups. It is advisable to avoid yellow flowers, because they have laxative capacity.
These flowers are grown in cold climates and bloom in spring, in a wide assortment of colors, plain or mixed. The bulbs and flowers can be consumed. The raw petals are used in salads and the corolla (set of petals) can be filled with, for example, a pasta made from tuna, boiled potatoes and chives, and presented on a mattress of green leaves.
Taco de Reina or Capuchina (Tropaeolum)
It blooms during spring and summer. The best known color is orange; but there are others: yellow, purple, brown, very beautiful. In some areas, especially temperate ones, it is considered an invasive plant, but in reality it is an ally in our garden. Its petals are edible and have a somewhat spicy flavor. They can be eaten, like their rounded leaves, raw in salads combined with parsley. Likewise, the corollas can be filled with cheese balls, salt, pepper and scallions. The fruits, which are like buttons, can also be incorporated into salads or presented as “false capers”.
Annual flowering plant in late winter and spring. The raw petals are used in sweet or savory salads and the dried leaves to make tea.
Day Flower (Hemerocallis)
It blooms from late winter to late fall, with the most varied colors, simple or combined. They are herbaceous, perennial plants that require full sun. Its culinary use is very common in the Far East. The flowers are consumed whole, as buds or once they have wilted, in stews and soups. They can also be sautéed and served with vegetables.
It is an annual plant, which is replanted alone and germinates in autumn. It blooms in winter and spring. The flowers are generally blue, but there are also plants with pink or white flowers. They are eaten whole, raw, in fruit or salty salads, or in ice cubes. They are also used cooked, as a filling for pasta.
They are perennial plants, subshrubs, that bloom in autumn, with a great variety of shapes and colors. Its petals are eaten raw in salads, and accompanied by oranges. Monarda didyma This perennial plant, with showy flowers, of white, pink, vermilion, purple or purple colors. The complete, raw corolla is used, accompanying dishes made with pork, fish and chicken, due to its strong flavor.
Another allied plant in our garden, with long flowering during the warm months. The flowers are cream, yellow, orange, brown or bi-colored. The white part is removed from the petals and they are used to accompany rice dishes.
It is a vegetable known to gourmets, of which the roots are eaten, since they have an oyster flavor. The flowers are also edible, of which the raw petals are used, in sweet or savory salads.
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
The berries are often used to make jams, especially combined with blackberries. They can also be eaten alone, once cooked or marinated. The toxic fruits, as well as the bark, can be toxic. The flowers can be prepared fried, like fritters.
Clover (Trifolium sp.)
The young leaves are used in salads or cooked for all kinds of preparations. The dried flowers and seeds are used to flavor the bread. Avoid consuming the different parts of this plant in large quantities, as they can cause belly swelling.
Andrea Fernandez Bernardi