Everybody enjoys flowers! They're beautiful, colorful, and pleases the mind and soul. But wait! Did you know we eat flowers? I knew about cauliflower, but when an agricultural expert told me about the number of flowers we eat, I was stumped.
Imagine the beauty that your eyes can see also pleases your stomach. Most of the edible flowers we grow today are originally chosen for their attributes of aroma and flavor rather than their beauty. It just happens to be beautiful too!
We regularly use flowers of banana, hibiscus, rose, and neem in cooking. However, we have a range of options to choose from! Flowers from most food plants can be edible. These flowers are rich in nutrition too. The vegetables and herbs that have edible flowers in addition to, edible parts are; garlic, basil, coriander, lemon, dill, fennel, mint, radish, rosemary, bean, squash, and pumpkin.
- Rose and Marigold are rich in Vitamin C
- Nasturtium is rich in vitamin A and C
- Herb flowers are used for their flavor.
- Pumpkin and squash flowers used to make yummy bajji and dosa.
- Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Gladiolus, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Rose, and Sunflower petals are used to garnish your salads, color your ice creams and cakes.
- Hibiscus petals are used in making idly and tea.Tree flowers like neem, drumstick, and tamarind are used to make pachadies.
- Rose petals are used in making gulkhand, jam and desserts.
- Blue tea made from Shankapushpi flowers is good for reducing anxiety.
- Cauliflowers and cloves are actually flower buds, and we use them before it blooms fully into flower.
- Drumstick flowers are used to make pakoras.
- Fennel flowers and pomegranate flowers are rich in antioxidants.
- Chamomile flowers in herbal teas are known for their calming effects.
Humans have found ways to manipulate plants so well that we never actually know what the original plant looks like. Do you know what a fully bloomed cauliflower looks like?
You can grow your own edible flower patch. It's advisable to use flowers that you grow on your own. The flowers from nurseries or farms may be treated with pesticides or chemicals. Don’t use the roadside flowers and they may have been polluted with vehicle exhaust.
Collect the flowers as soon as it blooms fully and avoid spoiled or dried ones. Pick the flowers early in the morning or late in the evening. Use only the petals and remove the central portion before eating. Use the fresh flowers and refrigerate them for future use. You could keep them for 7 -10 days in this condition.
Don’t use flowers you don’t know about. First taste the flower but be sure it is non-poisonous. If you are in doubt, use some reference books for identification.
Preparing natural food colors from the flowers is also an easy and entertaining activity. First, pick the flowers, remove the petals and dry them in the shade. After a week, powder it finely and use it to color your foods. The powder could be used immediately or stored in an air-tight container for later. If you want to use the petals immediately, add some water with the petals and stir well. Leave it for some time and filter it. You can use colored water in your foods.
With a little effort, it is possible to grow and harvest your own beautiful edible flowers which make your food delicious and colorful.
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