Edible Flowers

By Paleo
In Paleo Food
Jan 2nd, 2012

You can find edible flowers not only at your local super market, but also the farmer’s market, or even in your own backyard.

Edible flowers can be included in paleo-friendly salads, eaten as a snack or added to a variety of recipes for new flavors and aromas. Flowers are also a great, edible way to decorate any paleo dish before serving.

When cooking with edible flowers, there are a few rules to follow. The first is to ensure you are consuming flowers that are chemical free. Flowers from a flower shop or florist will almost always have been sprayed with potentially dangerous chemicals to prolong their lifespan.  Also, never eat flowers that are found growing beside a roadway. Edible flowers should not be washed, which is why it is so important they not be treated with chemicals prior to consumption. Another rule to follow when cooking with flowers is to be sure you’re not using other flavors in the dish that will overpower the delicate flavor of a flower. When selecting flowers, particularly outdoors, it’s important to remember that not every flower is edible, and some can lead to sickness, so you should be sure of what you’re eating, by using a flower identification chart, or only purchasing flowers from a supermarket, usually found with the fresh herbs. A limited amount of flowers should be used in any given recipe, because consuming too many flowers can lead to sickness.

Common edible flowers include:

Begonias– There are two kinds of begonias that are eaten. The first are called Tuberous Begonias, and have leaves, flowers and stems that are edible, with blossoms that generally taste citrusy and sour. The second variety is Wax Begonias, which have edible leaves and flowers, that can be eaten raw or cooked, and can taste slightly bitter.

Calendula– Calindulas are also referred to as Marigolds, which are a commonly eaten flower, with a spicy, sharp, peppery taste that can be similar to that of saffron. Calendulas can be sprinkled on salads, soups and eggs.

Carnations– Carnations are often included in bouquets, but they are also edible. Carnations have a sweet flavor, and work well in dessert dishes. Before preparing carnations to be eaten, the white base of the stem should be removed, because it is very bitter.

Chrysanthemums– These flowers have a tangy, bitter flavor, and come in a range of colors, including red, white, yellow and orange. Before eating these flowers, they should be blanched, and only the petals should be eaten.

Clover– The clover has a sweet flavor, that can taste similar to licorice, but when eaten raw they can be difficult to digest.

Dame’s Rocket– Dame’s Rocket looks similar to Phlox, and has flowers that range in color from deep lavender to pink and white. The plant is a part of the mustard family, and while it can be bitter in flavor, it adds color and interest to salads.

Dandelions– These flowers have a sweet flavor that is similar to honey when they are picked young, while the mature flowers tend to have a bitter taste. Dandelions work well when steamed or eaten raw.

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