If you are feeling hungry, but won’t compromise on an innovative cuisine, you can vouch for the dearest flowers in your garden. Edible flowers are, in fact, very much in vogue and chefs all over the world are coming up with recipes that are high on taste quotient, as well as unique, because these flowers also provide a gastronomic pleasure.
The genesis of flower cooking can be traced back to the Roman era, the middle-eastern countries and the Chinese cuisine. In India, rose petals, lotus, saffron and pumpkin flowers are widely used for cooking. Did you know that during the rule of Queen Elizabeth, petals of Carnations, Gillyflowers and Cloves were used to spice up wine and desserts?
Before you learn which flowers to eat, let’s begin with what you shouldn’t eat. Flowers belonging to the Solanaceae family contains toxic alkaloids which, when consumed, can be fatal for health. Here goes the list of your favourite top-10 flowers which not just spell visual and sensory wonder, but will tickle your taste buds as well:
- Hindi name: Tulsi
- Botanical name: Osimum basilicum
In Hindu households, Basil is considered to be sacred and auspicious. Its leaves can also be eaten raw if one is suffering from cold. But did you know that the flowers of this plant taste equally good? It has a mild taste, often reminiscent of mint and lemon. Basil flowers will surely add colour to any salad, curry or even your favourite dal. Garnish flowers with jaggery-flavoured buttermilk for an exotic gustatory experience.
- Hindi name: Kela
- Botanical name: Musa paradisiaca
Ask any Bengali about his/her favourite veggie dish and I bet it will feature the dish made out of banana flowers. In fact, each and every part of the Banana plant has an edible value.
- Hindi name: Chhoti pyaaz
- Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum
Chives are a member of the Allium family and are also known as “Flowering Onions”. They bear the taste of onion and their tantalizing aroma makes them a perfect choice for garnishing purposes.
- Hindi name: Dhaniya
- Botanical name: Coriander satavium
Coriander tastes best in its raw state and the best way to enjoy it would be to garnish it on vegetable or fruit salads, but only if you are game for experiment. It is advisable not to cook the coriander, as it will lose its taste.
- Hindi name: Moti saunf
- Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare
Known for its anise flavour, Fennel can be used as a flavouring agent for cold soups.
6. Japanese Honeysuckle
- Hindi name: Madhumati
- Botanical name: Lonicera japonica
True to its name, the honeysuckle tastes like honey, and the sweet-flavoured flower of the plant promises to be a worthy addition to your Christmas pie. However, apart from the flowers, the rest of the plant is not edible.
- Hindi name: Pudina
- Botanical name: Mentha spp
If Mint is renowned for its captivating scent, the flowers are no less. Prepare sweets or savouries with these mint flowers and augment the curiosity of your kitty party group!
- Botanical name: Tropaeolum majus
A commonly used edible flower for preparing for churning out dishes, the Nasturtiums has a sweet and peppery flavour. Owing to its taste, you can prepare both savoury and desserts with its Blossoms. Just flavour your cheese sandwich with these blossoms and see how your child crowns you the best parent!
- Botanical name: Paeonia officinalis
Peonies can either be used to beautify mocktail, or for preparing sweets. Whatever may be the form, it won’t disappoint you!
10. Scented Geranium
- Botanical name: Pelargonium graveolens
Geraniums come in diverse tastes, ranging from citrus to peppery. Like peonies, scented geraniums will also look amazing when they float on your smoothies, or mocktails.
Avoid using pesticides or other chemicals on edible flowering regions of the plant. In case you have noticed, most of these edible flowers taste better in their organic state, when used in the salad. But that doesn’t mean that you will shy away from experimenting. Your kitchen is your lab, so let your creativity flow. You can always take the help of your garden flowers to make your dishes tasty.
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