Friday, 20 April 2012

Edible Flowers For Your Salad

Tulips overlooking the more conventional edibles at The Organic Garden at Holt Farm last week

Last Saturday I received my order of climbing Fuchsia plants from Thompson & Morgan. Tucked inside with the usual cultivation leaflet was another on edible flowers. How timely, seeing they're on my list of Salad Challenge posts lined up for you :)

I've been eyeing up my garden in a completely different way ever since. The list names an amazing 69 edible flowers. 20 of them I've tried already (including our summer salad stalwart, nasturtiums); 26 I knew about but have yet to try, which leaves a further 23 surprises. They also helpfully list another 28 to especially avoid as they're poisonous.

Since Saturday I've added apple blossom*, tulip and strawberry* to the flowers I've tried. All were very tasty and sweet. I particularly enjoyed the tulip which was a more substantial mouthful and [to me] tasted like a cross between pea and bean. It was enjoyed as much for my surprise at it being edible as its taste. However, Jane Perrone warned on twitter yesterday some people can have an allergic reaction to this flower.

I'm particularly looking forward to trying Dianthus, sunflowers, Phlox paniculata and Calendula when they come into season. I'll be trying some Fuchsia flowers from my new plants too as I've tried (and liked) their berries previously. I'm not sure about my Yucca flowers though!

The booklet ends with a selection of unusual recipes to try. Here's their Primrose Salad. I've found primroses in my garden have a delicate sweetness. Probably best to stick to those if you have them rather than going a-foraging.

Ingredients
1 round lettuce
115g (4oz) lamb's lettuce
2 tbsp young primrose leaves, chopped
50g (2oz) parsley, chopped
450g (1lb) tomatoes
1/2 (half) cucumber, peeled and chopped
15-20 primrose flowers
3 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
1 tbsp primrose or white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and salt

Method
  • Wash and shake the lettuce dry, discarding the outer leaves
  • Add the lamb's lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, primrose leaves, cucumber and mix thoroughly
  • Combine the oil and vinegar in a bowl by whisking thoroughly, then season to taste with the salt and black pepper
  • Pour the salad dressing over the salad just before serving and scatter the primrose flowers on top

Which edible flowers have you tried? Did you enjoy them?


* = though not too many of these as I want lots of fruit!

9 comments:

  1. I always remember one assembly at secondary school when Mr Schofield stood on the stage and ate a daffodil! I couldn't tell you what point he was trying to make but it got our attention.

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  2. really interesting - I will try the primrose salad!

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  3. Lisa - that was brave!

    Lu - I was surprised to find they're edible, but they're very nice :)

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  4. Borage flowers are bright blue, tiny and star shaped. They look wonderful on canapés, or added at the last minute on a salad for dramatic effect. They taste nice - a mild cucumbery flavour, the plants are great for composting too...

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  5. Hi Lizzy - I'm also rather partial to Borage flowers in Pimm's ;)

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  6. I have eaten calendula and nasturtium, and very nice they were too.

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  7. The yellow flowers on all the Asian greens like pak choi are edible and tasty - and some consolation when they go to seed unexpectedly. Real Seeds sell Japanese Flowering Shoots, a variety grown for the flowers. Very popular in our household.

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  8. Hi Mark - Holt Farm (pictured) has left some Kale to flower and very tasty they are too. It looks like pretty much all of the brassica family produce tasty flowers. I'll check out Real Seeds for your recommendation :)

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  9. Oops Elizabeth - didn't mean to leave you out. I love nasturtiums - such a useful plant to have for salads. They're a firm favourite :)

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