Thursday, April 25, 2013

cake with Edible Flowers..

Edible Flowers: How To Use Them and Where To Get ‘Em!

They always look so nice on a cake or cupcakes....
 Flip through a few vintage copies of Good Housekeeping—mostly from the 60’s and 70’s—and you’ll see plenty of dishes garnished with edible flowers. A scattering of pansies on a plate might as well have been a neon sign blinking, “Look at me, I’m fancy!” which often came off as “stuffy” to the home cook. It’s understandable, then, that edible flowers lost their appeal somewhere along the line in food history. But I’m telling you they’re on their way back! And I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s why: The right edible flower (especially fruit, herb and vegetable blossoms) can add the flavor of a well-known ingredient to a dish but in a more subtle, colorful and texturally interesting way.  Chive blossoms, for example, taste delicately of chives but have pointy pink-purple petals that stand out beautifully in a green salad. Possibilities abound! Here’s a little info on what flowers to look for, how to care for them and what to do with them…

  • The best source for edible flowers is your local farmers’ market—that’s where I shop for mine. The options are often more interesting than what’s available at grocery stores and you can talk to vendors to make sure they grow their flowers in a way that’s safe for you to eat (you should not eat flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.)
  • If you don’t have a famers’ market near by, look for edible flowers in the produce section of your grocery store. Do not look for them in the florist section, since those flowers are usually not safe for eating.
  • You can also order edible flowers online. Shops like Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, Marx Foods and Melissa’s will ship edible flowers to you overnight (so they’re as fresh as possible)!
  • Keep in mind that not every flower is edible. Only buy flowers you can identify and know are 100% safe to eat. I’ve listed a few of our favorites (below) but you can visit the The Chef's Garden website for a list of popular flowers that are safe to eat, too.

  • Shake flowers to remove any insects or excess dirt.
  • Gently wash in a large bowl of cold water; drain.
  • Let flowers air-dry on a paper towel–lined tray.
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container, lined with damp paper towels, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the most part, edible flowers taste like they smell. My advice: Buy a few different kinds and experiment! That’s the only real way to decide what you like. Here are some of our favorites to incorporate into dishes…
  • Arugula Flowers: Peppery flavor, just like arugula leaves. Use in salads or other savory dishes. (Recipe below.)
  • Chive Blossoms: Delicate oniony flavor. Use whole flowers or separate the individual petals.
  • Hibiscus: Tart and sweet. Often used in teas, cocktails and salads.
  • Jasmine: Very sweet, floral fragrance and flavor. Use in teas or desserts. 
  • Johnny-Jump-Ups: Minty, almost bubblegum-y flavor. Serve on cakes or with soft mild cheese, like goat cheese. (Recipe below.)
  • Lavender: Floral flavor that’s perfume-y and faintly citrusy. Use in cocktails, teas, desserts or other baked goods.
  • Lemon Verbena: Light lemon flavor that’s well suited for sweet or savory cooking.
  • Marigold: Faint citrus flavor. Try it in a salad.
  • Nasturtiums: Peppery flavor and golden hue. Try them on crostini with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Pansies: Use these as garnish—they’re so pretty! Faint grassy flavor.
  • Squash Blossoms: Mild raw squash taste. Usually cooked before eaten. Lightly dust with cornstarch and deep fry.
  • Violets: Sweet and floral. Use in dessert or freeze into ice cubes for decorative drinking!

SERVES: 10 to 12

Whisk 1 cup confectioners’ sugar,
2 Tbsp. sour cream, 1 Tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel in a bowl. Pour over the top of 1 store-bought or homemade angel food cake. Sprinkle top with Johnny-Jump-Ups

Read more: Where To Buy Edible Flowers - Recipes with Edible Flowers - Good Housekeeping

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