Have your fill of tasty flowers

By: Tracy Anderson

Hungry? Instead of visiting your friendly grocer, why not try your garden? Experts say more than 100 flower petals are edible and can satisfy your appetite.
This quirky recommendation comes from the people of Which? gardening magazine that recently tested 37 varieties of plants. Of that number, 11 emerged as the winner in terms of taste.
"If you are bored with simple salads, shop-bought herbal teas and the same old jam, look no further than your garden for inspiration. Many of the flowers we grow can be eaten and will lend a welcome splash of color or new flavor to your food," said a spokesperson for the magazine.
"Flowers have many edible uses. They make an interesting garnish, can be dried to flavor tea, crystallized to decorate cakes, infused in jars of vinegar, added to fresh salads, made into sauces for meat and more," he added.
Which? Editor Ceri Thomas offers these tips to expand your taste for flowers:
Although its flowers are often blue, borage also produces purple flowers that have a slightly sweet and cucumber-like taste. These are often used in salads. Better yet, freeze them in ice cubes and use them to sweeten Pimm's, a popular alcoholic beverage in Britain.
"The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid thesinine, has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored edible things. It is often used to decorate dessert," according to the editors of Wikipedia.
"Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany and the Spanish regions of Aragn and Navarra. Although often used in soups, one of the better known German borage recipes is the Green Sauce (Grne Sauce) made in Frankfurt. The leaves and flowers were originally used in Pimm's before it was replaced by mint," they added.
The pink flowers of chives, the smallest species of the onion family, naturally have a nice onion-like flavor. Sprinkle them on your salad. They can also be used as a condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. To make wine sweet, use the creamy white flowers of meadowsweet which is also known as Queen of the Meadow and Pride of the Meadow. The flowers can likewise sweeten beer, fruits and jams.
"The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavor, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers, leading to the use of the plant as a strewing herb, strewn on floors to give the rooms a pleasant aroma, and its use to flavor wine, beer and many vinegars. The flowers can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor," said Wikipedia.
"Which? stressed that using ornamental flowers as a food represents a return to a tradition that dates back centuries. Roses and lavender have been popular additions to sweets for hundreds of years," reported Sean Poulter of the Daily Mail.

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