Feast on flowers
Story By Gregory P. Thomas
Cooking with flowers is a unique and creative way to incorporate natural beauty and flavor into your meals. From edible flowers like nasturtiums and violets to more commonly used herbs like lavender and rosemary, there are countless options for adding floral flair to your dishes.
One of the benefits of using flowers in cooking is their aesthetic appeal. They can add a pop of color and elegance to any dish, from salads to cocktails to desserts. Flowers also bring a subtle floral flavor to your meals, which can range from sweet to savory. Edible flowers are often rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
Fine and dandy
Fried dandelion flowers are a unique and tasty treat that can be enjoyed by anyone with access to dandelions. While some people may consider dandelions to be a pesky weed, they are actually quite nutritious and have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Fried dandelion flowers are surprisingly delicious. The crispy, golden exterior gives way to a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that pairs well with a variety of dipping sauces.
Fried dandelion flowers
40 fresh dandelion flowers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup milk
Vegetable oil for frying
 Wash the dandelion flowers and pat them dry with a paper towel.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, paprika and black pepper.  In another bowl, beat the egg and milk together.  Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or deep fryer to 375 degrees.  Dip each dandelion flower in the egg and milk mixture, and then coat it in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Fry the coated flowers in the hot oil for about 1-2 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried flowers from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil.
Spread the love
Rose-petal jam is a sweet, fragrant spread that is perfect for adding a touch of elegance to your breakfast or dessert. Made from fresh rose petals, sugar and lemon juice, this jam is surprisingly easy to make and will leave your kitchen smelling like a rose garden. Give this recipe a try and indulge in the beauty of rose petals.
4 cups fresh rose petals, preferably organic
4 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cups water
 Rinse the rose petals thoroughly under cold water and drain them in a colander. Remove the white base of each petal as it is bitter in taste.  In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rose petals and lemon juice to the saucepan and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the sugar to the pan and stir until dissolved. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Keep stirring the mixture regularly and let it simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Keep an eye on the mixture and remove any foam that forms on the surface.  Test for doneness by dropping a spoonful of the mixture on a cold plate. If it firms up within a minute, it is ready.  Pour the jam into sterilized jars and let it cool before refrigerating.
- For best results, use fresh organic rose petals that have not been sprayed with any pesticides.
- Be patient when simmering the mixture as it takes time to reach the right consistency.
- Do not let the jam overcook as it can become too thick and difficult to spread.
- Enjoy rose petal jam on toast or scones for a delightful breakfast or afternoon tea.
- Add a dollop of rose petal jam to your yogurt, oatmeal, or ice cream for a sweet twist.
- Use it as a filling in cakes or pastries to add a floral flavor to your desserts.
- Make a sweet and sour dipping sauce by mixing rose petal jam with vinegar and chili flakes.
The right stuff
Stuffed zucchini flowers, also known as zucchini blossoms, are a delicacy in Mediterranean cuisine. These beautiful and delicate flowers are filled with a variety of fillings, from cheese to herbs to meats, and then fried or baked until golden brown. This easy recipe makes a delicious appetizer or side dish perfect for any occasion.
Stuffed zucchini flowers
12-15 zucchini flowers
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
 Begin by gently washing the zucchini flowers in cold water, and carefully removing the pistil inside the flower without tearing the petals.  In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.  Spoon the mixture into each zucchini flower, being careful not to overfill them.  Gently twist the petals at the top of each flower to seal in the filling.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the stuffed zucchini flowers to the skillet and cook until they are golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove the stuffed zucchini flowers from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
Other ways to feast on flowers
1. Fresh vs. dried: Fresh flowers are best for salads, garnishes and desserts. Dried flowers can be used in teas, infused oils and spice blends.
2. Baked and candied: Edible flowers or petals can be added to baked goods and even stir-fry dishes. They can be candied and used to decorate cakes and other desserts.
3. Infusions: To make a flower infusion, steep the flowers in boiling water or hot milk. This can be used as a base for teas and sauces and is great for flavored water in a spray bottle.
4. Syrups: Flower syrups are a sweet and flavorful addition to drinks and desserts. To make a flower syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan with the flowers. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened. Strain the mixture, discarding the flowers, and let cool before using.