Favorites from the Edible Flower Class
Thanks to everyone to came to this month’s DIG IT class about edible flowers! We had a great turnout and we talked about edible flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors, including the lavender, yarrow, chamomile, calendula, and thyme blossoms that you see in the picture above. We did a lot of taste testing of freshly cut flowers, but some favorites were borage, anise hyssop, nasturtium, and flowering basil varieties such as Wild Magic and African Blue. Don’t worry if you missed the class, though, as we’ve got you covered with a few tips on how to impress your friends and use some tasty edible flowers in the kitchen!
Most people don’t believe us when we say that this pretty blue flower tastes like cucumber, but it’s true! Try sprinkling borage flowers into a fresh summer salad or drop a few into a glass of champagne, a gin and tonic, or an ice cold glass of lemonade. A fun project for kids can be to freeze the flowers in an ice cube tray overnight – the next day, as the ice cubes melt into your drink, you’ll get a hint of fresh cucumber flavor! The ice cubes are especially nice in an iced tea, such as this recipe from Food and Travel Magazine: http://www.foodandtravel.com/food/recipes/lime-iced-tea-with-borage-flower-ice-cubes
If you plant this tall low-water flower in your garden, the bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies will love it as much as you will! Imagine a cross between mint and licorice, and you’ll get a sense of this flower’s unforgettable flavor. Steep the leaves and flowers fresh or dry for an invigorating tea, but also try them as a garnish on top of cold soups and fruit salads. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try chopping up the leaves and flowers into a delicious salad of sauteed greens, cherry tomatoes, fava beans, and smoked mozzarella. For more information on this recipe and other things to do with anise hyssop, take a look at this site: http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/anise-hyssop.html
One of the easiest edible flowers to grow, nasturtiums are always a favorite because of their cheerful flowers in a whole range of colors and their distinct peppery flavor. The traditional and delicious thing to do with them is to mix a few of the flowers into your salad, but if you’re feeling bold, why not try a nasturtium pesto? Check out the recipe for this unusual pesto by clicking here: http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/01/nasturtium-pesto/
WILD MAGIC BASIL
When it comes to growing basil, normally you nip or cut any flowers that appear to encourage the plant to continue to produce tasty leaves for all your cooking needs. But not Wild Magic basil! This is a variety of basil that you want to flower, as those blossoms have a strong fruity flavor that’s great for making teas or sprinkling onto baked goods – just imagine a few of those delicate pink flowers dotted all over a rich dark brownie. Delicious!
If you’re not growing any edible flowers in your garden, give them a try! Many are incredibly easy to grow and not only do they taste delicious, but they can make a beautiful edible bouquet for your kitchen counter or the center of your dinner table, such as the bundle of radio calendula, blue bachelor’s buttons, and spicy wasabi arugula flowers pictured above. Have fun and enjoy eating your bouquets!
An ideally located community, Bay Meadows is only 10 minutes from Palo Alto, 20 minutes from San Francisco, and has 3 airports (SFO, OAK, SJC) within 30 miles. Bay Meadows is also located on Caltrain, which makes travel and commutes that much easier. Talk about convenient! Bay Meadows is the centralized place to reduce commutes, meet friends and play. Looking for ideas of where to ride? Check out our bike map here.
PHOTO CREDITS HOMESTEAD DESIGN COLLECTIVE