A few years back, I was a member of a CSA share that regularly included edible flowers in with the lettuces, tomatoes, and zucchini. While I was charmed by the presence of these flowers, I was always flummoxed when it came to actually using them. If only Miche Bacher’s new book, Cooking with Flowers had been around then. I would have done so much more with those tasty blooms.
Organized by variety of flower, each section begins with details about the particular blossom being featured. Then come the recipes, which manage to straddle the line between being appealing new and still familiar enough to get the old salivary glands working (for instances, how about a scoop of Lilac Sorbet).
As a preserver, I’m particularly interested in the ways that flowers can enhance my preserves. I often used dried lavender buds in jams and jellies to add a floral note, but now I’m contemplating the ways that lilac, nasturtium, and rose petals could improve or add interest to my basic sweet spreads. Makes the mind boggle a little, doesn’t it?
This recipe for Dandelion Jam was originally intended to go in the book, but because of space constraints, was cut from the volume. Eric from Quirk knows I happen to have a thing for jams and so asked if I’d like to feature the recipe here. I said yes and here we are.
I’ve not made this jam, but having read the recipe, I do believe it should work. For a preserve like this one, cooking it up to 220 degrees F will improve your chances of getting a good set from it. Also, do note that while it instructs you to put the finished jam in sterilized jars and seal them, it also requires that you store them in the fridge. This is because the jam doesn’t have the proper acidity for boiling water bath canning.
- 8 cups water
- 4 cups dandelion blossoms
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1 3/4-ounce package powdered fruit pectin
- 5 1/2 cups sugar
- Pour the water into a large saucepan and add dandelion blossoms. Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling for about 5 minutes, or until water turns yellow.
- Pour the resulting tea through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing the flowers to get as much of the color and flavor through the strainer as you can. Discard blossoms.
- Place 3 cups of the tea in a medium saucepan and add lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar and boil for 10 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
- Pour mixture into sterilized half-pint jars and seal. Store refrigerated for up to 2 months.
We were going to harvest zucchini blossoms for a Rick Bayless soup recipe, only to discover that I didn’t really know which to flowers to pick. I didn’t want to impede the growth of the zucchini, since we had a relatively small plant, so after much consideration I decided against picking them at all. Soon after a woodchuck ate all the zucchini. So, I guess this is really just a story about a woodchuck eating flowers, but oh well. You can’t have a story without conflict.
My special spring treat is making candied violets. It is time consuming and persnickety, but they are delicate and tasty! I keep the ones I don’t use immediately on cupcakes and cookies in a tightly sealed jar. I’ve gotten my friends a little addicted and they beg for some violet studded treats all the time!
Lavender honey short bread cookies are my go to cookie for when I need a easy, elegant desert.
Nasturtium flowers! Orange ones growing like weeds in my backyard in college! So fun!
I love making violet jelly. The color of it is so pretty!
we made dandelion syrup and have been using it on everything, I have also been throwing dandelion petals into soups, omelettes, whatever I am cooking to add a little flavor and a lot of nutrients
I just ate a rose petal today! My 2 year old and i were playing in the yard and he started chomping on a petal so I joined him and explained that some flowers you can eat and others you can’t
I eat lots of different kinds of flowers but my favorite is milkweed. Before the buds show any color they’re delicious in a vegetable way. When the flowers are open and dripping with nectar they make a lovely pink syrup that I use for sorbet and as a cocktail flavoring.
I only recently started using flowers in an edible way. I make and sell homemade jams and decided to turn the massive roses in front of my house into rose petal jam. People always ask me what it tastes like and my only response is “Like roses smell”
I remember being in 2nd grade PE class, and my teacher telling us that it was ok to eat the yellow buttercup flowers that were growing on the ground. Funny how those memories stay with you!
We eat dandelion flowers all the time. Were we live I struggle to grow any edible flowers.
I just started exploring the world of foraging. My grandchildren and I had a wonderful time gathering wild violets and then they made a beautiful salad for their mother who said it was too pretty to eat.
At my cousin’s wedding in California when I was in the 4th grade, they put orchids on salads. My mom said you could eat them, so for the first time, I ate purple flowers. They tasted like lettuce, it was interesting.
At the end of last summer, we wondered if we could eat the begonia flowers that had thrived in our balcony containers all summer long. It turns out the citrusy blooms made a great salad with arugula, strawberry, and balsamic.
You have inspired me to find some rose petal jam! It tastes so fantastic with dark chocolate. I’m thinking of creating the equivalent of a chocolate rose petal jam sandwich cookie. Chocolate linzer tart cookies with rose petal jam? Weekend project!
I remember making violet syrup as a kid. The best part for me was picking the violets!
I’ve eaten violets, they grow wild around my garden and I leave them alone letting them grow. Even my Hun Bun knows not to mow them down.
My first flower was a nasturtium and although it was exciting, I really loved the slight spicy taste of the leaves. I now grow nasturtiums and surprise guests every time I serve them. Look forward to checking out Cooking with Flowers!
The first flower I ate was a carnation on a dare in high school. The most recent flower was in lemon lavender posset. Yum!
I’ve been making cakes since I was 10 and a dear friend asked me to make his wedding cake: carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, the works. We rigged a “cooler” with dining chairs and Indian tapestries draped over them, their ends wicking up water… It worked! The crowning glory of the cake was hundreds of miniature rose blossoms. It was gorgeous!
My boys and I like to make fancy ice cubes with borage, mint, pansies, and calendula petals. That, and decorating cakes with them is the main way we eat flowers in our family.
I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten a flower, but have been intrigued by the idea for some time. And I can’t wait to try the dandelion jam!! We happen to have a bumper crop every year all over our lawn!
yesterday i was taking a break from working in the greenhouses at our farm and for snack picked a lovely dandelion and ate it up. yum.
About 7-8 years ago I was reading in L. Shere’s book about candying flower petals just as our (unsprayed) roses were blooming…. pretty & yum!
I’ve come home for Mother’s Day this weekend with the plan to make lilac syrup!!!
My housemate Kerry and I spent two days baking a three-tier cake in my school’s colors for my college graduation party. Neither of us had ever baked a tiered cake before, but we were fairly competent bakers, and figured we’d give it ago. After a few harrowing near-misses resulting from a too-tiny kitchen counter and my generously sized hips, we decided to assemble the cake on the floor, and ended up hacking a dowel into cake-sized pieces, cutting cake forms out of shoeboxes, and slapping it all together with fifteen minutes to go before the graduation ceremony started. The tiers were chocolate chip raspberry, lemon, and buttercream, with a buttercream icing. (I was in the stage of my life when I eschewed fondant. I’ve since repented and now appreciate the forgiving, sleek frosting.) With alternating tiers of vibrant kelly green and sunflower yellow covered in swirlies, dots, and dashes, that cake was a beaut, if a little overenthusiastic. To cover some of our icing mishaps and because “hey, why not?”, we twined honeysuckle from our ramshackle garden around the tiers. For a finishing touch, and because I’d always wanted it, we put a sparkler on the very top of the cake, and almost got the fire department called in at the party later.
We made hibiscus lemonade the other day for a birthday party. 🙂 It was delicious, and especially beautiful. I loved the deep purple color.
My great grandmother would take me and my 6 siblings for long walks in a old wooden wagon .She would tell us about plants and flowers,,what we could eat and not put in our mouths.So many years ago and what a blessing!