The festive party season is almost upon us, which means there’ll be plenty of special occasions to host family and friends. Edible flowers are a great way to dress up dinners and add extra flavour to your meals, so have a look at our pick of the edible flowers you should be growing and using in South Africa this party season.
The practice of eating flowers dates as far back as 3000BC, and we are so glad to see it growing in popularity again in households around the globe. You can also enjoy this trend – simply head into your garden and grab a few gorgeous blooms. Not all flowers are edible, though, so which ones are safe to use?
A few popular options to consider are:
1. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium)
These brightly-coloured flowers will add a tangy, slightly bitter flavour to your dish. Wash them well first and scatter a few petals over salads. The flower base is very bitter so it’s better to only use the petals.
2. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
These bright and beautiful flowers will add a pop of colour and add a peppery flavour to any salad. Use them to garnish cheese platters, salads, and trays of appetisers.
3. Fuchsia (Fuchsia X hybrida)
The vivid colours and unusual shape of this flower make it an eye-catching garnish, while the mild acidic flavour is the ideal partner for a variety of salads.
4. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
The therapeutic benefits of lavender are no secret, but did you know that you can use the soft flowers as a garnish for an array of baked goods, or even to dress up your champagne? Lavender can also be used as an ingredient in baking, whether it’s fresh or dried.
Before you don your gardening gloves, though, here are a few important things to note:
- Only use flowers that you know are edible. If you’re trying any flowers that are new to you, ensure that you identify them correctly, and by more than just their common name (or ask a professional).
- In some cases, only the petals are edible and some flowers will require that you remove their stamens as the pollen could cause an allergic reaction.
- Home-grown is best, but if you’re buying flowers, make sure you know where they come from. Flowers from a florist may have been sprayed with pesticides.
- Rinse your flowers well after you’ve picked them and place them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. For maximum moisture and flavour, pick your edible flowers early in the morning.
Article supplied by Life is a Garden; amended by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst