Edible Flowers

June 5, 2008

Flowers enhance food in both an alluring and fun way. They give a romantic dinner a sensual touch, or add a bit of playfulness with a surprising splash of color. Best of all, there's that little "lift" of fragrance that's unbeatable.

My favorite is to toss in a small amount of nasturtiums or pansies to a green salad. You don't need much. Flowers may look timid and shy, but they pack a powerful punch. They can be wonderfully peppery, nutty, even tart.

In a liquid form, such as orange flower, they're blissful whipped into cream to top a dessert, or mixed into a classic cocktail. One such cocktail that tops my list is a Ramos Gin Fizz. Icy and floral: perfect for a summer brunch.

Lightly dusted with a fine pastry sugar, flowers such as violets are a beautiful addition to a dessert like cupcakes, or atop a vanilla bean ice cream.

Personally, I stay away from marigolds, also known as calendula, which is frequently used in cosmetics. Years ago, my mom and I found out that we were both highly allergic to them when an herbal book recommended we brew them to make a cleansing face tonic. We both ended up looking like Freddy Krueger, and I had a blind date the next night. Oh, the wonders of emergency dermatologists, cortisone shots and theater make-up!

Have fun adding flowers to your dishes, but just in case, keep them away from your face!

Thank you Mouth Watering Moments for your beautiful photo.

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