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20 Flowers You Probably Never Knew Were Edible And Would Add Taste and Color to Your Festive Meal

20 Flowers You Probably Never Knew Were Edible And Would Add Taste and Color to Your Festive Meal

The culinary use of flowers dates back thousands of years to the Chinese, Greeks and Romans. Many cultures use flowers in their traditional cooking — think of squash blossoms in Italian food and rose petals in Indian food.

Today, it’s not uncommon to see flower petals used in salads, teas, as well as garnish for desserts. The possibilities are endless. Your imagination is your only limit.

With the festive season upon us, delight your guests with colourful, fresh flower accents or crystallized flowers.

Here are a selection of 20 flowers which will add flavour and color to any festive table.

1. Apple

Apple blossoms have a slightly floral taste and the petals are lovely in salads. Infuse petals in whipped cream or ice cream to go over an apple tart. Blossoms look attractive when floated in a fruit punch.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/midnightcomm/493837202/in/photolist-KD3Aw-8KwS2B-fu5mzk-6RrBso-9ehvm1-5Evuf7-5EvtZw-5zEJjc-8YS3vg-au52Xu-B4CYe-5zG96c-etV3E5-5zLKZ5-9EqnSF-LJ7bC-anqPnT-9ZfqYo-e2cqzb-5zGusH-eAbd6P-8RQYRn-6HG18w-aHiPFD-8juM32-9z96dS-qhzJ6-3hNd5-jKcf-av9rpp-6ciiUb-82CJh1-63s3c2-dgi6ys-BXiCw-au52Q3-8CWhD3-au53s3-ar44nj-5Evu8E-5fUwG4-q5dmUv-2k517D-7TEbRM-bBYLG4-mmUCe2-4bsa4j-82CJjA-oNjhWr-oNk3XR

    2. Basil

    Basil Flowers can be used as a substitute for leaves in any dish requiring basil. The flowers should be used more sparingly due to their very intense flavour. Delicious when added to salads, soups or pasta.

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      3. Chives

      Chive flowers have a mild onion flavour and are surprisingly crunchy. They are widely used tossed in salads, pasta, omelettes and scrambled eggs. Or you can add a few to white fish dishes or to cheese sauce to give that extra bite. As tempting as it may be to pop the whole flower into your mouth, refrain from doing so as the pungency in that quantity can be overwhelming. For garnish and cooking, break the flower into individual florets .

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      https://www.flickr.com/photos/bricolage108/508441268/

        4. Daisy

        Pull the flowers apart for a mass of small quill petals ideal for creating a colourful garnish on desserts or soups, in salads or with savoury dishes. Also makes useful decorations for cakes, biscuits, mousses and pâtés.

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          5. Dandelions

          Dandelions are sweetest when picked young. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers. It is best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Dandelion flowers are good both raw or steamed. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. When serving a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.

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            6. Day Lily

            Day lily petals are great in salads, hot and cold soups, cooked and served as a vegetable or chopped and added to stir-fries. Try sautéing the buds or flowers, which can then be stuffed with almost any filling.

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              7. Hibiscus

              Infuse the flowers to make a popular, mildly citrus-flavoured tea. Add strips of vibrant coloured petals to fruit salads. It is best to use the petals from the flower heads. If you use them whole, beware of the pollen.

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                8. Jasmine

                The flowers are intensely fragrant and are traditionally used for scenting tea but can also be added to shellfish dishes.

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                  9. Lavender

                  There are many ways to use lavender flowers in sweet or savoury dishes. Make a delicious lavender sugar and add to biscuits, sorbets, jams or jellies. Add flowers to vegetable stock and create a tasty sauce for duck, chicken or lamb dishes.

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                    10. Lilac

                    Mix fresh fragrant flowers with a little cream cheese and serve on crackers or stir flowers into yogurt to add a hint of lemon. Also useful as a garnish for cakes, scones or sweets.

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                      11. Marigold

                      The flowers and leaves have a citrus taste, making them ideal for adding to salads, sandwiches, seafood dishes or hot desserts.

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                        12. Nasturtium

                        The fresh leaves and flowers have a peppery flavour similar to watercress. The flowers will add a spicy touch to salads and the green seeds can be chopped and used with parsley as a garnish or made into capers. Try them combined with cream cheese, butter in canapés, or in a cheese and tomato sandwich. Nasturtium flowers can also be used to garnish steaks or casseroles.

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                          13. Pansy

                          Pansy flowers have a lettuce-like flavour and make a decorative addition to a green salad, garnish. a pâté or dessert. They can be crystallised and used to decorate cakes, cookies or creamy desserts.

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                          https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/14895107338/

                            14. Rose

                            As a general rule, if a rose smells good, it will taste good. Petals have a delicate flavour which will improve cool drinks and fruit dishes, or why not try rose petal jam? Rose hips and petals can both be used in jellies. If the flowers are crystallised, they will make attractive cake decorations. It is best to remove the white heel from the base of the petals before eating.

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                              15. Rosemary

                              Rosemary flowers and leaves can be used with poultry or pork – try adding a few flowers to biscuit dough to add flavour.

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                                16. Squash

                                All squash flowers have a slightly sweet nectar taste. These can be stuffed with cheeses and other fillings, battered and deep fried, or sautéed and added to pasta. Thinly sliced blossoms can be added to soups, omelettes, scrambled eggs or used to add colour to salads.

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                                  17. Sunflower

                                  The buds, petals and seeds are all edible. Add the petals to a green salad for a colour contrast and a mild nutty taste. The green buds can be blanched, then tossed in garlic butter. They are similar in flavour to a Jerusalem artichoke. The kernels inside the seeds can be eaten raw or toasted as a snack.

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                                    18. Tulip

                                    Tulip petals have a sweet, pea-like flavour and a tender crisp texture. Try stuffing whole flowers with a shrimp or chicken salad. Add strips of petals to salads or sandwiches for that added touch of colour. Carefully remove pollen and stigmas from the base of the flower before stuffing. Some people have had strong allergic reactions to tulips.

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                                    https://www.flickr.com

                                      19. Viola

                                      Viola flowers have a lettuce-like flavour and make a decorative addition to a green salad, garnish, pâté or dessert. They can be crystallised and used on cakes, cookies or creamy desserts.

                                      https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosipaw/6035045515/in/photolist-acibLT-9Ticz3-api4G7-awY3YC-bBbKLm-48N6KY-noheq9-8kHnW7-aGT3Zc-5VrCPA-9Z7tBp-a3fkBT-9TicFS-bxR3DV-anKkwp-8FznvT-bAFxTW-7r4wNs-anKkm2-G1bZR-anKkeK-dYsGyj-8q6knQ-anKksv-7SPB6c-63whuy-63s3hk-dLnndL-bPrey4-7r51aE-avinpW-8CBYC6-bsibNR-7MfB4Q-fAHg3x-a7VzSH-7Ns2HC-7xMEd5-59XHU8-ajMVBm-hXrUYy-oXpcH-4zm91R-9JDXZP-54aabk-6ihHjn-dFUAkN-432vR-i2mYmb-a63JbM

                                        20. Yucca Petals

                                        The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (a hint of artichoke). In the spring, they can be used in salads and as a garnish.

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                                          Wondering where you can buy flowers in the heart of winter? You can order on-line from places like Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, Marx Foods,  and Melissa’s.

                                          Featured photo credit: Vegetables with salad dish with spring edible flowers via shutterstock.com

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                                          Last Updated on December 13, 2018

                                          12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

                                          12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

                                          Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

                                          A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

                                          1. Eat Before Heading Out

                                          First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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                                          2. Select The Treats

                                          Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

                                          3. Avoid Skipping Meals

                                          Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

                                          4. Drink With Moderation

                                          It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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                                          5. Be Active

                                          You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

                                          6. Get Out Of The House

                                          Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

                                          7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

                                          Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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                                          8. Set Realistic Goals

                                          You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

                                          9. Enjoy Yourself

                                          Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

                                          10. Drink A Lot Of Water

                                          This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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                                          11. Eat Less And More Often

                                          Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

                                          12. Prioritize Your Workouts

                                          Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

                                          So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

                                          Happy Holidays everyone!

                                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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