Edible Flowers Interest in edible flowers has increased, primarily on the West Coast. It is something seen in trendy restaurants, or included in popular magazines. Squash blossoms are used in Italian cooking. My maternal grandmother fried Squash blossoms dipped in batter. Many people are ignorant of which flowers may be eaten. Sometimes flowers used as a garnish are not edible. If a flower is in a vase, in water, or used as a table decoration—do not eat it! Rules For Edible Flowers 1. Eat flowers ONLY when you are positive they are edible 2. Just because it is natural, does not mean you can eat it 3. Just because it is served with food, does not mean a flower is edible 4. Only eat 'pesticide-free' grown flowers 5. Just because you looked at an Edible flower web site, does not mean that those flowers are edible. Verify, verify, verify. 6. If you have allergies, or Asthma—do not eat flowers 7. Do not eat flowers picked from roadsides unless necessary for survival 8. Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only the petals, Check for bugs. 9. Warning—Not all flowers are edible, don’t assume they are 10. Introduce flowers to your diet very slowly, and eat a tiny bit first. 11. Be aware that pollen can cause an allergic reaction—so eat only the petals 12. Just because you can eat something, does not mean your horse, cat, or dog can eat it. I’m only going to mention some flowers. Mint- Mentha spp. Mint Family Lamiaceae In the Victorian language of flowers, mint symbolizes virtue, peppermint is a warm feeling, and Spearmint is warmth of sentiment. Mint has been around since the first century A.D. Mint is used in international cooking. For centuries it was used as a stewing herb to dispel foul odors. Spearmint is the most common. It is used in Mint Juleps, iced tea, and lemonade. Peppermint Mentha Piperita Spearmint Mentha Spicata Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus Nasturtium family Tropaeolaceae Historical notables, such as French Sun King, Louis XIV, and Thomas Jefferson, have appreciated nasturtiums, which are native to Peru, through the ages. Their peppery qualities twitch the nose, thus, the name nose twisters derived from its Latin name nasus (nose) and torquere (to twist) seem appropriate. In the Victorian language of flowers, nasturtium represents patriotism. Nasturtiums have a zingy, radish flavor, and are great in salads, vegetables, and pasta. Pansy Viola x Wittrockiana Violet family Violaceae Pansies look like whimsical faces caught in deep thought. The French word, pensee means Thinking of you, and in the Victorian language of flowers, Pansies are all about thinking of you. Pansies are related to Violets, and Johnny Jump Ups. Of the edible flowers, the flavor is the least spectacular. Roses Rosa spp. Rose family Rosaceae The Queen of Flowers denotes love, deep Red roses signify bashful modesty, and White is, I am worthy of you. The Romans introduced eating Rose petals to Europe. Roses have been around for 40 million years. Roses were cultivated during the Shen Nung Dynasty in China around 2737 B.C. E. The Romans brought us the Rose in all its glory to the Western world, cultivating them for their fragrance, grace, and beauty. Be sure and sample petals, before using them in dishes. Perhaps the Old roses are the most tasty; Rosa damascena, and Rosa gallica. Squash Blossoms Curcubita pepo spp. Gourd family Curcubitaceae Long before the Spanish brought squash varieties to the American, Native Americans grew both summer and winter squash. They used the male blossoms in side dishes and desserts. They are very tasty dipped in batter and fried. Squash Fritters 2 large eggs Half cup Italian Parsley chopped ¼ c. Romano cheese, grated ¼ c. Parmesan cheese, grated Salt and Pepper to taste 15 Squash blossoms, coarsely chopped Oil for deep-frying In a large bowl, mix eggs, parsley, cheeses, salt and pepper. Beat well. Add squash blossoms. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Drop fritters into oil by well-rounded tablespoons. Deep fry until golden brown then turn one time. Drain, and serve. Serves 4. Violet English violet Sweet violet Sweet-scented violet Blue violet Viola odorata Violet family Violaceae Violets are native to North Africa, Europe, and Asia. They are naturalized in North America. The Violet has been around for more than two thousand years. The flowers are sweetly scented, and range in color. The Greeks, and Romans believed violets cured insomnia, gout, headaches, and calmed anger. In the Victorian language of flowers, Blue was for faithfulness, purple for forever in my mind, white meant modesty, and yellow is rural happiness. Violets taste sweet, and perfumed. The heart-shaped leaves are tart. The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication. Various flowers, and arrangements were employed to send coded messages. In Victorian repressed society, individuals could express feelings, which could not be spoken. ”My love is like a, Red, Red Rose…” Red roses continue to mean passionate romantic love. Pink roses signify platonic love. White roses epitomize virtue, and chastity, yellow is for friendship, and devotion. Lavender Nougat Candy This recipe has a long history originating in the Roman Empire. Nougat is a traditional French candy. Lavender Almond Nougat 2 cups organic sugar 2 tablespoons of organically grown lavender flowers 1 & ½ cup light corn syrup 2 organically range raised egg whites 1-cup sulfite free organic blanched almonds 2 tablespoons organic sweet butter Blend a quarter cup of organic sugar and 2 tablespoons of organic lavender flowers in a food processor. Add the remaining sugar, mix well and store. This is to allow time for the flowers to perfume the sugar. Do this step 3 days before you make the candy. After 3 days, combine 6 tablespoons of this lavender sugar blend with 1 tablespoon filtered water and 1/3 cup light corn syrup in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir over low heat until this comes to a boil. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile butter an 8x8 pan, and dust with Hain brand organic powdered sugar. Use a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the pan. Cook this mix on medium, without stirring until temperature reaches 234 degrees (soft ball stage) Remove pan. Beat egg whites on high until very stiff with dry peaks. Slowly add the hot syrup to the egg whites, beating 5 min until mix is thick and creamy. In a heavy quart pan blend 1 cup of light corn syrup, and 1 cup of lavender sugar that you made 3 days earlier. Cook over low heat. Stir until mix comes to a boil. Cook for 3 min. stirring. When it starts boiling cover, for 3 min. then remove cover, letting it boil rapidly without stirring. When your candy thermo. reads 285 degrees, remove from heat. Pour this second batch of syrup into the first batch beating well. The nougat will be a glossy white, thick and sticky. Stir in the almonds and 2 tablespoons of organic cream butter into your greased prepared pan. Place in a cool place for 12 hours. Much like fudge, remove from pan and cut into little squares. Lavender Lemonade 1 cup Lavender 2 cups Boiling water 8 cups Cold Water 1 cup Fresh Lemon Juice 1 cup Sweetener (Sugar, Honey, Sugar-Substitute) Steep one cup of lavender in 2 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes. Pour through a clean coffee filter. In a container place 8 cups of cold water, 1 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar. Add lavender infusion, ice, lemon slices and fresh lavender blossoms.