Edible flowers are all the rage at the moment, but not every blossom is palatable. Here's a helpful guide to which petals to plate, anything else can be left in the vase.
The subtle flavours of edible garden flowers impart an extra dimension to a dish with their delicacy and uniqueness. However, you can't just throw a handful of petals into your stew. To use them effectively one needs to understand the ideal use for each kind of flower. Something we have simplified with our guide below.
Apple blossoms have a delicate floral flavour and aroma and are a great accompaniment to fruit dishes. They can easily be candied to use as a garnish.
Calendula (or marigolds) can be spicy or bitter, tangy or peppery. Also known as poor man’s saffron, their petals are lovely sprinkled on soups, pastas and rice dishes.
Carnations can be steeped in wine, candied or used as cake decorations. To use the sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower.
Chrysanthemums range in taste from faintly peppery to something resembling mild cauliflower. They should be blanched and the petals scattered on salad.
Dandelion flowers are sweetest when picked young. They have a honey flavour and can be eaten raw or steamed.
Day lilies are slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavour, somewhere between asparagus and baby marrow.
Fuchsia blooms have a slightly acidic flavour. Their explosive colours and graceful shape make them ideal for use as a garnish.
Hibiscus blooms have a cranberry-like flavour with citrus overtones. Use petals sparingly in salads or as a garnish.
Impatiens have a sweet flavour and look lovely floated in drinks.
Jasmine’s tubular, waxy-white flowers are intensely fragrant and traditionally used for scenting tea.
Lavender flowers have a sweet, floral flavour, with lemon and citrus notes. They look beautiful – and taste good too – in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets and ice creams.
Lilac flowers have a distinct lemony taste with strong floral overtones. They are great in salads and crystallised with egg whites and sugar.
Nasturtium blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavour, which is similar to watercress and are ideal on open sandwiches and savoury appetisers.
Roses vary in flavour according to soil type and colour, although the taste can be described as being reminiscent of strawberries and green apples.
Sunflowers are best eaten steamed at bud stage, when they taste like artichokes.
Tulip petals taste like sweet lettuce or fresh baby peas and have a cucumber-like texture and flavour. Note that some people have a strong allergic reaction to them.
Violets have a sweet, perfumed flavour and make pretty adornments to iced cakes and sorbets. They can also be crystallised.
This info from Woolworths TasteMag