Flowers are the proof of nature’s refined aesthetic sense. Flowers have the ability to soothe, not only our ophthalmic and olfactory senses; but it can provide great pleasure to our palates as well. Flowers have been part of culinary processes since ancient times in most of the old civilizations, and with good reason. Flowers have wondrous health benefits, along with having many culinary uses. Many cultures around the world add flowers to various dishes to enhance the taste and aroma. In India, it is a common practice to add rose petals to desserts. In Italy, adding squash blossom to various dishes is just another way of enhancing the taste.
The list given below contains 10 such delectable flowers with refined taste that you can add to your diet for incredible culinary experiences.
Basil is a well-known plant with great medicinal value. Basil leaves are an ayurvedic elixir. A little known fact about this plant is that flowers of this plant have many medicinal and culinary benefits. The flowers vary in colors, from white to lavender. The taste of this flower is milder, compared to the leaf. It can be used to make tea, as it provides a mild aroma.
2. Marigold/ Calendula
Marigold is a wonderfully edible flower. It provides a wide range of taste: from bitter to spicy, pepper to tangy. The taste of this flower might resemble saffron a little. So, tear up those beautiful golden-saffron petals and garnish your dishes. But make sure to use only the leaves for cooking and not the bitter base. Only marigold leaves are edible.
Rose has a plethora of health benefits. It is a wonderful flower, that can be used for garnish, aromatic health drinks, etc. Rose blossom is rich in vitamins and minerals. Many scientific researches have proven health benefits of rose. Consuming rose petals can help in fighting epileptic attacks, due to the presence of eugenol and geraniol. Drinking rose water can relieve constipation too. Rose tea can treat infections. Make sure to use home-grown roses for edible purposes.
Hibiscus is a robustly flavorful flower. This flower has a strong cranberry-like taste with a tinge of citrus flavor in it. Flavorful petals of this flower can be used in salads. Hibiscus flower can also be used to make tea, but dried petals of the flower should be used.
Arugula flowers are another not-so-popular but flavorful gem. The blossom stands out because of its subtle colors, which range from white to beige petals with purple veins. The contrast of these beautiful colors makes it a wonderful ingredient for garnish. Its taste is nutty and peppery, making it a perfect garnish gem for soups.
6. Carnations (Dianthus)
Dianthus is smaller in size in all of the carnations family. The flowers of dianthus are wonderfully sweet in taste. The base of the flower is bitter, thus it needs to be removed before using. Hence, it can be used as toppings for cakes, add-ons for candies and can be used in wine for that extra sweet kick.
The flowers of clover have a sweet, licorice-like flavor. The blossoms are red and white in color. Clover blossoms are believed to have medicinal values as per folk medicine. These flowers are used to treat leucorrhea, rheumatism, etc. in folk medicine. White clover tea is believed to treat a cold too.
Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is a commonly used herb. The cilantro flowers are also edible and can be used in place of the leaves. These have a very herb-like taste and can be used in salads for an extra zing.
9. Citrus (Lemon/Orange/Kumquat)
The citrus flowers are aromatic, scrumptious flowers. These are sweet in taste and have incredibly strong aromas. So, discretion is advised while using these flowers.
Flowers of the Allium family are edible as well as flavorful. The blossoms provide a wide range of flavors, ranging from garlic to chives.
Precautions to take while consuming edible flowers:
- Do not consume flowers you don’t know about.
- Make sure to only use flowers that are grown without harmful pesticides.
- Consume only the petals. Avoid consuming pistils, stems etc.
- Some wild flowers can cause allergies. Use your discretion and choose wisely.