The benefits of flowers exceed well beyond their aesthetic and aromatic properties. Certain flowers can be ingested and consuming them can actually be beneficial to your health.
The history of eating flowers dates back to ancient times when edible flower seeds were transported like fine spices. Flowers have been used by ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese herbalists for medicinal and culinary uses since the beginning of recorded history and the flower petals were often used in salads and as garnishes.
Flowers are very high in antioxidants and the darker the color, the higher the antioxidants. The health benefits of edible flowers are diverse and can range from lowering blood pressure to fighting colds.
Here are a few of the most common edible flowers:
- Calendula (marigold): This flower is commonly used in creams and healing salves but can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits when eaten raw on salads or as a garnish.
- Clover: Traditionally used to combat gout and rheumatism and my help remedy varicose veins.
- Dandelion: Dandelions are a member of the daisy family and have a honey-like flavor. Dandelion flowers are known to have a mild diuretic effect and are useful in treating fluid retention due to premenstrual syndrome.
- Lavender: Sweet floral flavor with lemon and citrus notes. Used well in garnishes and can provide relief for grief, sore throats, whooping cough, anxiety and aids in relaxation.
- Pansy: Sweet grassy flavor, great in fruit or green salads and a remedy for skin conditions.
- Rose: Flavor depends on soil, rose type and growing conditions. Great used in salads and desserts and contain antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits as well as aiding in relief from nausea, dehydration, fatigue and rashes.
- Violets: Sweet perfumed flavor and the leaves are excellent in salads, desserts or iced drinks. Helpful in reducing coughs, headaches, esophagus discomfort and pain.
Edible flowers are hugely versatile when it comes to adding flavor and a touch of class to your culinary dishes. It’s important to understand that not every flower is edible and identifying the flower exactly and eating only the edible parts can prevent illness and complications. It’s also important to remember to not use flowers grown with pesticides or picked near roads and highways. Wash all flowers before consumption, and start with small quantities.
Adding edible flowers to your meals will provide health benefits as well as encouraging exploration and enhancing creativity that will help you appreciate the culinary experience even more.
Article by Andrea Nison