Flowers are often found as centerpieces for the dinner table, but have you ever thought of adding them to the meal? In many cultures, including our own, flowers like basil, thyme, and parsley have been used to spice up meals. Besides the classics, there are plenty of other edible flowers and plants we should include in our meal plans, as they provide a whole host of health benefits.
Top 7 Edible Flowers You Should Add to Healthy Recipes
Do you have some spare holiday or housewarming flowers lying about that you’d prefer to serve up on a plate? Make sure that they were grown without pesticides or other chemicals first, or you could get sick. Always wash your flowers before consuming the following choices.
1. Dandelions: A Super food Disguised as a Weed
Dandelions get a bad rap and are often killed with pesticides, but they are one of the most nutritious foods you could find. As a positive, they’re found everywhere, but only pick dandelions that grow in your yard to ensure they’re safe to eat. The entire plant contains vitamins A, B, C, E, K, Folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. The root is primarily used in teas.
2. Hibiscus: Has Many Medicinal Qualities
The hibiscus plant produces large, tropical blossoms that can grow as big as 6 inches. Found in red, pink, white, and yellow, the hibiscus is typically used for ornamental purposes. However, hibiscus petals may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels when steeped in tea. Besides drinking the plant, hibiscus edible flowers can be added to jams, relishes, or salads for their sour flavor.
3. Nasturtium: The Pepper of Plants
Nasturtiums are a favorite in households that like to add a bit of spice to their dishes, pestos, and sauces while adding a bit of orange or red to the mix. Its unique savory flavor can be enjoyed cooked or raw for its variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as for its anti-inflammatory effects. As the nasturtium leaves resemble lily pads, they can also look stunning in a garden salad.
4. Rose: A Low-Calorie Sweet Snack
Roses aren’t just sweet to look at; they also have a sugary taste. All rose species currently found on Earth are edible, but some varieties taste better than others. The white beach rose, red beach rose, Damask rose, and Apothecary roses taste the best, but to add more flavor, feel free to add a sugar brush with water and sugar. Eating roses can help to reduce anxiety.
5. Squash Blossoms: Inexpensive and Taste Incredible
The male squash plant produces squash blossoms, which taste similar to the squash fruit but milder. Zucchini blossoms are the most popular because their flowers are large and close in at the end, making them perfect candidates for stuffing. Squash blossoms are typically fried or stuffed with cheese, and they contain the same nutrients as the full squash fruit.
6. Lavender: Versatile and Flavorful
Don’t sleep on lavender as an ingredient because its distinctive fragrance mixed with its sweet and savory flavor pairs well with most dishes. Lavender is a popular addition to dry spice rubs, herbal teas, liqueurs, syrups, baked goods, and salads. When consumed or inhaled, lavender can alleviate anxiety, insomnia, and stress, but it can only help your digestion if eaten.
7. Pansy: Comes in a Variety of Flavors, but Mostly Used for Their Color
Drab food is challenging to eat, but adding a few pansies to a salad will make it look instantly more appetizing. A few studies have shown that a pansies antioxidant profile can improve the nutritional properties of food. Purple, blue, and yellow pansies are the most common. All varieties are used in green salads, cakes, pastries, popsicles, cookies, and meat dishes.