The flowers of Spring are gorgeous, fragrant and abundant, but they can be more than eye candy (and best friends of bees). There are a ton of edible blossoms that are as tasty as they are pretty.
More than the Store
The industrialization of our food system has left a few delicacies on the sidelines, because they simply don't hold up to transportation well. These things include edible blooms like zucchini blossoms and delicate nasturtium, which are truly best when they are picked right before eating. Farmer's markets are a great resource for picking up edible flowers since transportation is more local (and the farmers are sure to know a thing or do so you don't accidentally get poisoned), but if you are a gardener you can take advantage of some of these flowers from your own backyard or community garden.
Bulbs: you're already eating them!
Did you know that garlic and onions are actually the bulb part of the allium flower? A bulb is where a flowering plant takes a disco nap to ensure it survives the cold season. It downsizes and moves underground for a spell, storing enough energy in its starchy bulb to bloom again next season. Some bulbs are edible (such as those in the allium family) but its a good idea to check and triple check before consuming bulbs since most can be toxic!
Uses and applications
The world of cooking with flowers is vast and global. From rose water in Indian cuisine to Lavender in French cuisine, their essences add a distinctive flower, perfumed flavor and aroma wherever they appear. A few that I've recently learned about include marigold (calendula), begonia, nasturtium, carnations, and peony. But there are zillions more. Most of the flowers listed above add a pop of color and flavor to a fresh or fruit salad, or can be lightly steamed in teas, punches, or to add some color to a more savory/heavy dish.
There's no better time than Spring to slow down and appreciate all the different flowers around you—learning about each and every one you pass could take you straight into next Spring. In the meantime, the flowers will be hibernating in their bulbs.
Among other items on a delicious sounding menu (sweet potato stuffed griddle bread? Candied lemon jam? Sign us up!) she will be cooking with edible flowers as well to showcase Spring.