Cooking with Edible Flowers322
with Ashlee Redger
Test Kitchen Chef
The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and trees are beginning to bud—all of this can only mean one thing: spring is coming! As flowers begin to bloom outside, it’s the perfect time to break out of that wintertime cooking rut and bring some floral flavors into your kitchen.
Don’t know how to use flowers in your dishes? Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through!
Many dried herbs and flowers produce their strongest flavors when allowed to infuse in a liquid. Hibiscus Flower is a wonderful example of this. Hibiscus is most often used as a tea and provides a gorgeous, dark red color and super fruity flavor. The easiest way to enjoy it is to make some Iced Hibiscus Tea (or Agua de Jamaica) to sip on a warm day.
Flowers can also add some fun and interesting notes to cocktails, especially margaritas. A bright pink Hibiscus Margarita would be great to serve at a party, while Turkish Margaritas—which are flavored with honey, Rose Water, and rimmed with crushed Pakistan Rose Petal—are full of sweet floral notes.
Bake with them
Lavender is a popular choice to delicately add flavor to fresh pastries. Melt-in-Your-Mouth Lavender Shortbread and Lemon Lavender Scones are both great choices to serve with a warm cup of tea (a book and a blanket to wrap up in is optional… but encouraged). If you’re looking to make a unique version of an American classic, the Honey Rose Apple Pie makes a lovely dessert for an Easter meal or potluck.
There are more to flowers than just their petals. Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is actually the red stigmas of the purple Crocus sativus bloom. We devoted all of February to celebrating this luxurious spice with the release Saffron & Chanterelle Risotto Spice ‘n Easy and Saffron Salt (a special, limited time offer only available for the month of February - you’ll have to wait until next year to get your hands on a bag!).
California Fennel Pollen has a delicious sweet anise flavor and is wonderful sprinkled on roasted sweet potatoes with a dash of salt or in a marinade for chicken skewers. As you might be able to guess, this flavorful pollen also makes up a large part of Coastal California Fennel Pollen Rub which pairs well with anything from fruit (add a tablespoon to your favorite cranberry sauce!) to lamb burgers.
Flowers aren’t just for decorating your table! Do you have any favorite florally inspired dishes? What are you looking forward to cooking this spring? Let us know in the comments below!