An earlier herb study introduced us to edible flowers. Realizing that we could elevate the look and taste of our dishes with flowers is exciting. And by eating them we could also actually enjoy many health benefits at the same time.
Today famous chefs, as well as home cooks, use flowers as a matter, of course, to brighten up many different dishes. You don’t need a reason to include edible flowers in your presentations, but I can’t think of a better time to use them than with a garden party!
Very soon, we will enjoy backyard gatherings with friends and family. Your herb garden can be your personal treasure trove of common and uncommon petals, stems, leaves, and stamens to showcase in your summer recipes. Just use your imagination.
Zucchini or squash blossoms are a delicious showy way to either stuff, fry, or garnish a salad. You’ll be getting a healthy dose of iron and calcium, along with many other nutrients no matter which way you use them. Chopped, colorful peppery-flavored Nasturtiums look and taste great with grilled fish. While Calendula is natural companion plants for pest control in the garden, their orange petals also have a pleasant cucumber and pepper flavor. These flavors will surely spice up egg, cheese, bread, and rice dishes.
Flower and herb butter, made with Garlic, Chive, Lavender, Sweet Alyssum, Arugula, or Borage flowers will surprise anyone. Also try herb-whipped creams made with Rose Geranium, Hibiscus, Mint, Rose, Thyme, Lemon Verbena, or Basil flowers for dips or to top your fruit pie. You can also make wonderful creams with herbal teas. And let’s not forget herbal beverages, alcoholic or mock. Herbs can be used for syrups, garnishing, muddling, infusions, tinctures, and trending shrub cocktails.
Garden parties are a wonderful way to celebrate your garden and your herbs. You really don’t need a reason for a party. Celebrating can happen every day using edible herb flowers at home. The hardest part is letting your herbs go to flower. For consistent intense flavor and fragrance, most herb gardeners would prune before flowering happens.
Tips for a healthy abundant herb garden are to crowd your plants, keep them thirsty, underfeed them, maximize light exposure, and periodically pour aspirin water over your herb plant’s leaves. Simply dissolve an aspirin in 4 1/4 C. of water and use. This treatment has been proven to double the essential oil content and flavor while protecting plants from pests. This also works on the leaves of strawberries, tomatoes, and corn.
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Herbal Summer!
By Cheryl Balster