flowers, edible

Flowers that are used as a garnish or as an integral part of a dish, such as a salad. Not all flowers are edible. Those that are must usually be purchased from specialty produce markets or supermarkets that carry gourmet produce. They can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator up to a week. Flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides (such as those found at florists') should never be eaten. Some of the more popular edible flowers are: the peppery-flavored nasturtiums; chive blossoms, which taste like a mild, sweet onion; pansies and violas, both with a flavor reminiscent of grapes; and perfumy, sweet roses. Other edible flowers include: almond, apple, borage, chamomile, lavender, lemon, lovage, mimosa, orange, peach, plum and squash blossoms, chrysanthemums, daisies, geraniums, jasmine, lilacs, marigolds and violets. Edible flowers may be used culinarily in a variety of ways. They make colorful, striking garnishes for drinks as well as food—for everything from salads to soups to desserts. Some of the larger flowers such as squash blossoms can be stuffed and deep-fried.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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