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Fine Dining = Edible Flowers?

Maybe this makes me sound a little naive, but I recently realized that orchids can be edible. I was sooo excited! The only reason I found out is several of our restaurants at Madden’s serve orchids with some of the plated meals. Here a nice photo from our stock. Doesn’t just looking at it make you want to eat it?

Because I know so little about these edible flowers, I decided to do some digging (haha, not of the actual flowers). I was happy to read I wasn’t the only one who was surprised. One gal posted on a Garden Web Forum her surprise when finding orchids in her cosmopolitan. Now that is how I want to try my orchids! I’m putting it on my to-do list. For all you who are surprised as me or just want to learn more about orchids, here are a few Q & A’s.

Are all orchids edible?
GardenGuides.com provided a simple answer: All orchids are edible. The most common type is the Vanilla planifolia, which produces vanilla oil. Take care, however, to thoroughly wash any flowers prior to eating.

Are orchids the only edible flower?
No. Many flowers can provide nutrition and add an aesthetic appeal. “If a flower isn’t poisonous, it’s considered technically edible, but not all edible flowers are tasty.” explained Alex of CaringforOrchids.net Did you know dandelions contain both Vitamin C and A? Nice. I found a couple other cool links to full lists of edible flowers: “Edible flowers are the new rage in haute cuisine” and “Edible Flowers.”

How can I use edible flowers in my cooking?
All of the websites I’ve found give little lectures on not eating flowers from a florist, not eating flowers that have had fertilizer or pesticides sprayed on them, not eating flowers found on the roadside, etc. I say use common sense. Only eat flowers that you have grown and been able to monitor. For a full list of guidelines see the safe use info in “The Incredible Edible Flower.”
Another important item when using edible flowers at home is preparing them. You should wash them in gently in a cold water bath (you may use a salt water bath). Then let them soak in an ice bath for a minute. This will give them a little “pick me up.” After a minute, take them out and drain them on a white cloth or paper towel. Each type of flower requires different preparation after this step such as removing different parts of the flower. Google a little bit and I’m sure you’ll be able to find the perfect recipe for any edible flower.

I must admit I’m a purple-lover. So… here is my favorite edible flower that I look forward to trying:

lavender   Lavender
(Lavandula angustifolia) – Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. NOTE: Do not consume lavender oil unless you absolutely know that it has not been sprayed and is culinary safe.

And now for a lavender flower recipe. This website also has several other delicious sounding recipes. Click here to view.

Lavender Lemonade
Sit back and enjoy a tall glass of iced lavendar-kissed lemonade. Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon fresh lavender buds
1 cup boiling water
6 cups fresh squeezed lemonade
Lemon slices
Sprigs of fresh lavender

Directions:

1. Place lavender buds in a large glass and add boiling water. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a 2-quart pitcher. Discard lavender buds.

2. Stir lemonade into mixture in pitcher. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. To serve, pour lemonade mixture over ice cubes in stemmed goblets. Garnish each with a lemon slice and fresh sprig of lavender.

**Have any of your own favorite edible flower recipes? Feel free to comment below. You know we all want to try it!**

Until next time, Elizabeth

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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Food & Beverage

 

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