What is the best way to elevate a dish from delicious to divine? Add some edible flowers. It seems everyone from Instagrammers to Michelin-starred chefs is embracing a new culinary wave of flower power. Salads the RHS would be proud of and cakes covered in candied crocuses are order of the day.
We spoke to the creative and knowledgeable folk at Burford Garden Company to find out all how to incorporate flowers in your food…
“For just a moment we are going to let edible flowers steal the limelight from our much-loved herby friends. Edible flowers have gained popularity in recent years and we can absolutely see why. Not only do they give colour, flavour and texture to a dish, they also add a wow factor to presentation and have purported health benefits to boot.
“The list of edible flowers is extensive; however, here at Burford we certainly have our floral favourites. We use flowers in many of our dishes and we never tire of seeing our customers’ faces as they come across these bright blooms on their food. We grow our own flowers in our Burford Kitchen Garden for use in our kitchens. You can do the same at home, or alternatively you can find an edible flower supplier from which you can source directly.”
Our floral favourites….
Violas & Pansies
A Burford kitchen favourite these pretty little numbers come in an array of vivid and varied colours. They have a lettuce like flavour, which is stronger if you eat the whole flower and not just the petals. They are most commonly used to decorate cakes, or you can crystallise the flowers for longer lasting decorations.
Nasturtiums are a popular flower for culinary use, coming in a variety of colours, from zingy yellows to warm oranges and brighter reds. They are peppery in flavour, and this makes them perfect accompaniments to salads and summer time baguettes. Why not add them to baked goods for a shot of colour and fun or as a pretty garnish to a curry?
Broad Beans & Pea Flowers
Many people don’t realise the delicate flowers appearing on their pea and bean shoots are actually edible. Delicate in look and also in flavour, you can definitely taste mild pea. These flowers make beautiful garnishes on both sweet and savoury dishes. Use on summer salads and desserts. NB. Please note that only vegetable pea flowers can be eaten, not sweet peas which are toxic.
Edible flowers are rich pickings and can turn a delicious dish into a sight to behold. However, you must be cautious when using edible flowers, always make sure they have been correctly identified and washed. Also, be aware of allergies. For best results always use flowers soon after picking. Remember, if in any doubt, never eat.