Taste test: 10 popular edible flowers to try
Is there more to edible flowers than great looks? We asked Carol Hyland, the creator of Little Leaves, a small-scale edible-flower and microgreens grower, to take some of her leading picks to DIFC for a flower tasting session with HalilAsar, the restaurant manager and sommelier at Intersect by Lexus, and Tomas Reger, a dining establishment expert and freelance chef.
Marigolds (Tagetestenuifolia, Tagetespatula, Tageteslucida).
Resembles: Orange-petalled flowers, ranging from yellow to deep orange, frequently variegated.
Taste test: The flowers taste like citrus zest, in some circumstances, but likewise Mexican tarragon or cinnamon.
Uses: Use dried flowers to make teas, and fresh petals for salads or garnishes.
Borage (Borago officinalis).
Resembles: Small, lilac-blue, star-shaped flowers.
Taste: The green part of the flower tastes like cucumber, while the sepal tastes and gives off oysters.
Utilizes: It can be mixed with salads and used as a garnish. Use the flower and the sepal picked from the stem. Can likewise be crystallized for cake and dessert decoration.
Sweet William (Dianthus plumarius).
Looks like: There are more than 500 types of Dianthus, in a wide variety of colors. They have little, spiked, jagged-edged petals, which are often variegated.
Taste: Sweet William has a cucumber taste or a somewhat metal, sweet or natural flavor.
Uses: Can be blended with salads and utilized as a garnish. Petals can be utilized in desserts and on cupcakes, however make sure to remove the petals from the base, because the green part is bitter.
Pansies (Viola tricolor).
Resembles: Pretty, multiform petals, in a vast array of colors, from white through to hot pinks and purples. Blue and yellow ranges have the greatest fragrance.
Taste: The flavor depends on the color of the petals, however there are hints of aniseed and the slight scent of tiger balm.
Uses: Add to salads and use to embellish cakes and drinks. They likewise crystallize well.
Nasturtium (Nasturtium tropaeolum).
Looks like: Related to watercress, nasturtium has light orange and yellow flowers, and rounded, flat leaves with a central stem (like an umbrella).
Taste: This flower tastes like rocket and wasabi, with notes of increased perfume and cloves. It has spicy and aromatic notes, matched by a sweet taste from the nectar.
Utilizes: Use leaves and flowers for salads and garnishes. It’s a strong component in its own.
Appears like: Small, star-like flowers in a range of colors, harvested from a single flowering stem.
Taste: A bitter taste that s dry on the taste buds.
Utilizes: Ixora is lovely in drinks; try freezing in ice.
Calendula or pot marigold (Calendula officinalis).
Resembles: Similar to routine marigold orange multi-petalled flowers with a visible disc at their center.
Taste: Peppery, appetizing and bitter, with some references to saffron it’s in some cases described as the poor man s saffron.
Uses: Place in salads and garnish, but only use petals instead of the hard center of the flower.
Courgette or zucchini flowers (Cucurbita pepo).
Appears like: Pale-yellow flowers are discovered on completion of growing courgettes. Not all flowers will fruit, so search for the flowers without any swelling at the base.
Taste: Slightly sweet with a courgetteflavor.
Uses: Slice the length of vegetable with the flower attached, flash-fry and serve in salads.
Looks like: Lilac through to deep-purple flowers originating from a single stem. While it’s drought- and heat-tolerant, lavender doesn’t like humidity, so consider the plant s position when growing.
Taste: Flowers have a perfumed, flower taste.
Uses: Harvested flowers can be used to flavor cakes and ice cream. Flowers are edible, but avoid the green stalk. When crystallized, in its full kind, lavender works well as a cake design.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis).
Resembles: Deep red, with a protruding stamen.
Taste: Fresh and flower when brewed for teas.
Uses: Petals (eliminate stamens and green parts) can be brewed for tea. The color is especially striking.
Resembles: Pretty, multiform petals, in a vast array of colors, from white through to hot pinks and purples. Blue and yellow ranges have the greatest fragrance.Taste: The flavor depends on the color of the petals, however there are hints of aniseed and the slight scent of tiger balm.
Looks like: There are more than 500 types of Dianthus, in a wide variety of colors. They have little, spiked, jagged-edged petals, which are often variegated.Taste: Sweet William has a cucumber taste or a somewhat metal, sweet or natural flavor.