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Floral delights

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Flowers are the compostable diamonds of nature. Their beautiful, bright hues and alluring fragrances have been fascinating bees, birds, and humans longer than we can remember, but there is one thing bees and birds still love about flowers that we humans seem to have long forgotten: the taste. Yes, you can eat flowers.

Since our days of hunting and gathering, flowers have been one of the delectable prizes among the treasure of natural green forage that we discovered was fortunately consumable, and although in contemporary times we seem to be leaving out these delectable treats from our diet, they’re making a comeback.

However, don’t go into your yard and cram the prettiest flower you see into your mouth just yet. Not all flowers are edible, some are even poisonous. This includes flowers such as lily of the valley, daffodils, morning glory, and sweet pea. Caution should be taken when picking any wild plant, and just a little research will do the trick. In seconds you can find a list of edible flowers and a list of poisonous flowers.

Although not all flowers are good for munching on, the list of edible flowers goes on and on. It includes familiar flowers such as lavender, calendula, carnations, peony, lilac, roses, sunflower, marigold, dandelions, and violets, just to a list a few. Since lavender, rose, and dandelions seem plentiful and popular I will focus on those.

Lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia as it is scientifically known, is an herb flower. Lavender is one of the most versatile flowers to cook with. It can be used in pastries, in champagne, and even on meat. Lavender has a sweet flavor with a touch of citrus, although some say it tastes a little minty. Try it first as a garnish on top of a sorbet and then maybe add it to some savory butter, homemade popsicle sticks, or chocolate cake.

Rose is one of the most popular edible flowers on the market. The flavor of Rosa rugosa depends on the variety of the rose. It can range from sweet to apple-like depending on the color, type, and even where it was grown. Rose is popular in jam, tea, and dessert. Try adding roses to your warm tea, add it to some lemonade, or bake it into some cookies.

Dandelions, scientifically known as Taraxacum officinalis, have a honey-like taste and are great tossed in salads. Try adding it to your next salad, infusing it in some homemade syrup, or just warm it up in tea.

The trick to cooking with flowers is to do a good amount of research on when it’s the best time to pick them, what are the tastiest parts to eat, and how to prepare them. Always make sure the flowers you are consuming have not been treated with any harmful chemicals or pesticides.

Although cooking with these dandy little petals, buds, and leaves requires some research, ingenuity, and a little craft, the end result will not only be pretty to look at, but your taste buds will be thanking you. So go ahead, try it out. Give your taste buds a tang of some floral buds.

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