Edible Flowers – Field Report May 1, 2015
It may be too early for radishes, spinach, new potatoes and all those wonderful first veggies, but it is not too early to begin eating seasonally in Edmonton! Our greenhouses are open for the season and we want to introduce you to the wonderful world of edible flowers!
The first thing to do when you’re eating edible flowers is to make sure they’re… well, edible. You can find a long list of online resources that provide lists of flowers that you may have previously only believed were ornamental. Home Cooking, Tree Hugger, West Coast Seeds, and What’s Cooking America have great (though not exhaustive) lists of edible flowers. In addition, if flowers are not a regular part of your diet, remember to add them sparingly to your meal plans and see how your body responds. Serious allergy sufferers should be careful to remove the stamen and all pollen covered areas of a flower before consuming them.
One of our favourite ways to eat the flowers in our greenhouses is to add them to fresh spring salads. Pansies, violets and begonias are some of our absolute favourites. Pansies
(which both contain vitamins A & C) are both very mild in flavour – slightly floral, slightly grassy – but big in colour. They can be beautiful garnishes on salads, fish dishes, baking, deserts and soups. The also happen to make beautiful ice cubes to add to your lemonade (or, let’s be real, gin & tonic).
are another whole world of flavour. The leaves, flowers and stems of begonias are all edible and they have a citrusy, sharp flavour. While we use the petals in many of the same ways we use pansies (as well as for snacking in the greenhouse while we water hanging baskets), the stems can be used in recipes to replace rhubarb. Begonias get some of their sharp flavour from the oxalic acid they contain so if you’re suffering from conditions like rheumatism that are aggravated by oxalic acid, you may want to avoid these.
while great at keeping pests away from your gardens and brilliantly coloured also pack some serious flavour. Their petals have a peppery, savoury taste and are also known as “poor man’s saffron”.