While it may not seem like second nature to pick a flower and drop it into a dish or a drink, you’d be surprised by how practical and tasty a number of floral mixes can be. By adding a few flowers to your next cocktail, lunch or dessert, you can kick-start your spring with a whole new palate of flavors. Here are a handful of edible flowers (some petals, some extracts) to have on hand in the kitchen this spring. You can thank us later.
Beyond its blooming purple color, lavender is known for its sweet, citrusy taste. Lavender buds contain oils that when mixed with sugar provide a pleasing aroma and taste, at the same time. Fans of cocktails will recognize lavender in the common forms of Bee’s Knees, Lemonade martinis, and various gin-based drinks. It also adds a nice twist to chocolate desserts, such as brownies, and cupcakes.
This subtropical flower is the perfect spring/summertime complement to any beverage or salad. With a cranberry flavor, hibiscus is commonly used in teas and floral drinks. Plus, the petals and buds add a distinct berry taste to otherwise boring salads if you want to try something new with your summer sides. Hungry yet?
Candied lilac frequently garnishes plant-based meals, and its purplish color adds a dash of flair to any dish. Known for its lemony flavor, lilacs are great in chilled drinks, typically when accompanied by gin, sugar, lemon juice and crushed berries. They are are beautiful and tasty additions to cakes, honey, and jellies.
This one may seem like a no-brainer; after all, mint is already included in a ton of different dishes. However, the key to mint is that it pairs well with other types of flowers such as lavender. Plus, there’s virtually no preparation required when cooking with mint, as it can be plucked and placed directly into chilled drinks or a cooking pan. Experiment this spring and summer for a refreshing change to your diet.
Extra: Flower Ice Cubes
Most edible flowers can also be arrayed into ice cube trays and frozen overnight, making them quick additions to fruity drinks. Better yet, any petals or buds that are unused can simply be thrown into a saucepan and cooked with a larger meal, or they can be used as garnishes to top off an already-cooked dish.
By taking the time to observe the many tasty benefits of nature around you, it’s easy to see how much flowers have to offer beyond floral displays and pleasant smells. Now that you’re armed with a few quick tidbits on how to best utilize edible flowers this season, check out your favorite cookbooks and recipes to see how you can take your culinary skills to the next level.