Dear Roberta, I have large flower gardens and a friend mentioned that I have a lot of edible flowers. Can you please help me identify some of them and possibly give me some recipe ideas?
Many flowers are edible, although not all of them may be palatable.
Broccoli, cauliflower and artichokes are technically flowers eaten as vegetables.
Types of edible flowers include: • Pansy petals- the largest of the viola-type flowers, all of which you can eat (the littlest are Johnny-jump-ups). Faint lettuce like taste; velvety texture.
• Nasturtium- The tastiest flower. Peppery and mustardy, with a touch of honey. Ranges from yellow to reddish orange, with variegations.
• Lavender petals- sweet and perfumed, also good for sachets.
8 Tablespoons cool unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Cup flour
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup cornstarch
1-2 Tablespoons fresh or dried lavender flowers (finely chopped)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Combine remaining to make a soft dough, then shape into a ball.
Roll out on floured board and shape about 1/4 inch thick and score into rectangles (1 inch by 4 inches). Bake on greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoon finely chopped chives
3-5 tablespoons milk
2 loaves bread of your choice (see below)
Mix the cheese with the chives and 3 tablespoons of milk until smooth. If this is too thick add more of the milk. Using a serrated knife, trim your bread. You can use a baguette and slice thinly, leaving the crust.
Or use a hearty wheat, honey wheat or even oatmeal bread and remove the crust then cut into small squares. Spread the cream cheese over your bread piece, not quite to the edges. At this point you can place on baking sheets and chill for up to 6 hours, or use immediately.
Pick your nasturtium blooms and gently rinse. Place one bloom on each piece of bread, or careful separate the petals and arrange in a design on top of the cream cheese. You can also add small herb leaves, such as thyme, oregano or chive stems to decorate.
Pansy Pear Gorgonzola Bruschetta
1 loaf hearty multi-grain bread or baguette
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz. soft Gorgonzola
5 ripe pears
Local grown honey to drizzle on pears
Handful washed and dried pansies
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Slice bread on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices (about 12 - 14 slices). If slices are very large, cut in half. Lay out slices of bread on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Brush bread with olive oil. Spread cheese on the bread.
3. Slice each pear into six slices. Figure one pear per slice of bread. You will have to judge by the size of the bread you have chosen to use.
4. Toast bread in oven about 2-3 minutes. Remove toast when toast is golden brown and cheese is beginning to melt and lightly bubbling.
5. Immediately layer pear slices on top of the toasted cheese. Top with a few pansies; drizzle honey over the pears and pansies; sprinkle with a few fresh herbs such as thyme, tiny basil leaves, or marjoram
Roberta DesBouillons is the in-house chef at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and used to own/operate Apron Strings Cooking School in San Francisco. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.