Edible Spring Flowers
By Lisa Metzgar, PhD – Nutrition Tidbits
Spring is in the air with the smell of blossoms. Did you know that you can not only enjoy the fragrant aroma of spring flowers but also eat some of them? Edible flowers can be a delightful way to brighten up a meal and add some different flavors as well as beneficial nutrients.
Many flowers have been used for their medicinal value as well as their culinary additions. Here are a few edible delights that you can add to you meals:
Chive Flowers: Chives will blossom with a peppery tasting purple flower that can be added to salads or vegetable dish. Chive blossoms contain Vitamin C, sulfur and iron which benefits the immune system and prevents anemia.
Rose Petals: Roses have a stronger aroma which can overpower but just a few petals to a salad can add beautiful color and flavor. Roses contain Vitamin C and can be used fresh as well as dried in the form of rosehips.
Squash Blossoms: You can find fresh squash blossoms at farmers markets right now. They are great fried or sautéed. They have a sweet and nutty flavor that adds to a spring meal.
Here is a great recipe for a great spring soup.
1-1/2 Tbs. butter
1 large white onion, chopped into 1/4-in. dice
3 cups good chicken broth
1 small boiling potato, peeled and roughly chopped 25 large,
fresh squash blossoms (3-in. to 4-in. male blossoms)
2 poblano chiles
1 cup milk
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-in. pieces
Kernels from 1 large ear of corn
1/2 cup heavy cream or crème fraÎche
1-1/2 tsp. salt
*Epazote or parsley for garnish
In a medium (4-qt.) soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly brown, about 5 min.
Scoop out half of the onion and set aside. Add the broth and potato, partially cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 min.
While the broth is simmering, prepare the squash blossoms. Peel off the sepals that come out from the base of the blossoms. Break off the stems. Remove the stamen in the center of each flower and discard. Cut the blossoms crosswise into 1⁄4-in. strips, including the bulbous base.
Add half the blossoms to the broth and simmer 3 min.
In a food processor or in batches in a blender, purée the mixture and return it to the pot.
Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame, or on a medium-hot gas grill, or 4 in. below a very hot broiler.
Turn occasionally until blistered and blackened on all sides, 4 to 6 min. for the flame or grill, about 10 min. for the broiler.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand about 5 min.
Peel off the charred skin, cut out the seed pod, then quickly rinse to remove straggling bits of skin and seeds. Cut into 1⁄4-in. dice.
Add the chiles to the soup along with the milk and reserved onion; bring to a simmer and cook for 10 min.
Add the zucchini and corn, simmer a couple of minutes, then add the remaining squash blossoms.
Simmer a couple of minutes longer (the strips of blossom will soften into deep-golden “streamers”). Remove from heat, stir in the cream, taste, and season with salt.
Serve in warm bowls garnished with epazote or parsley.
Recipe from http://www.vegetablegardener.com
Lavender Flowers: Lavender has been used for is relaxation properties and adds a great flavor when used as an herb in recipes and tea. Lavender is a good source of calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.
Day Lilies: Day Lilies add a melon like flavor to recipes. You can eat them fresh or find them in Asian markets in the dried version (known as golden needles). They are used in a variety of Asian dishes including sweet and sour soup. They are a good source of fiber although don’t eat too much as some varieties have a laxative property.
Nasturtiums: The plant’s leaves, flowers, and seeds are all edible. They range in color from yellow, orange, to red and add great color to a meal. The stems have a peppery taste, the blossoms have been used to flavor butter, cream cheese, and vinegar, and the flowers add great color to a salad or used as a garnish.
Add some beautiful color to your meals and delight your family and friends. Happy Spring!
LisaMetzgar, PhD, has been in the alternative health field since 1996.Shereceived her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic HealthPractitioner, and received her PhD in Holistic Nutrition. Lisa hastaught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia andcurrently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutritionalcounseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families in a healthylifestyle. Follow Lisa on Twitter at LisamWellness4u and her Facebook page ConceptsIn Wellness or e-mail her at conceptsinwellness (at) sbcglobal.net