With the warmer weather we’re experiencing, the UK is getting ready for some alfresco eating. But until the chill has completely gone, why not bring the outside in with these edible flowers guaranteed to bring a touch of colour to your plate. Nothing says gourmet quite like it.
Most edible flowers are best eaten raw – simply pick and rinse well with water. Flowers taste and look their best right after they have opened. Remember though that not every flower is edible, so do your research. Avoid flowers that have been sprayed too, so dandelions are off the list unless you have an organic lawn.
Chives, leeks and garlic are all delicious in green salads, potato and pasta salads and dips. Remove the central stem from the allium flower cluster to separate the florets.
Nasturtium blossoms have a peppery flavour like watercress. Add any variety for colourful salads or garnishes. Leaves can be eaten, too.
Use the tiny flowers of marigolds, such as Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem. Their blossoms have a citrus taste.
Take your drinks to the next level. Freeze edible pansies in an ice cube tray to add to drinks, or glaze with warm jam and pretty up cakes or other desserts.
Honeysuckle blossoms make a pretty addition to salads, but don’t use the berries; they’re poisonous.
Scarlet runner beans have bright-red flowers perfect for mixing into salads, or in with steamed veggies.
English chamomile has small, daisy-like flowers with an apple-like flavour. Avoid if you’re allergic to ragweed.
Like bee balm, which comes in pinks, purple and red, all flowers of the mint family are edible and have a pleasant taste. Try lemon balm or spearmint in iced tea.
For more summer recipes read our ‘Cool treats for the heat‘.