Each time you see more often the use of flowers in many dishes, some very elaborate and sophisticated and another simpler such as salads. However, although it is a trend that has become popular in recent years, the use of flowers in gastronomy is quite old. However, before launching to use this type of ingredient, it is important that you know certain important aspects, such as differentiating the types of edible flowers from those that are not, as well as some that can become toxic.
What types of flowers can we consume as food
Edible flowers, as the name suggests, are flowers that can be consumed as food, just as we do with fruits or vegetables. However, one of the aspects that must be taken into account when consuming this food, is that, as with many plants, not all are edible. There is a wide variety of flowers that are edible. In spite of this, there is also another quite a wide variety of flowers that contain substances toxic to health. Keep in mind that the objective of the flowers is the reproduction of the plant, therefore, until they generate the seed that is usually accompanied by fruit, the plant will tend to protect the process. In this way, we can find poisonous flowers that, once they have turned into fruit, are perfectly consumable in the form of food.
For all this, in regard to the consumption of flowers as food, the first thing we have to consider is to always eat flowers that we know are suitable for consumption. Therefore, it is best to do it from figures that are marketed expressly for that purpose or, in case of being sure of the type of plant, we can do it with those of which we have no doubts about its origin. In any case, we must consume flowers taken directly from the field or from environments that are not properly controlled, although, at first sight, we can identify them with edible flowers since they can cause confusion and cause poisonings.
What uses do edible flowers have?
Currently, the most striking use of edible flowers is the introduction of this ingredient as a part of any dish. It must be borne in mind that edible flowers have a generally strong flavor, in many cases bitter and spicy, something that has nothing to do with the sweet flavors to which the fruit has accustomed us. Therefore, they are an interesting part when it comes to providing nuances to sophisticated dishes, whether it is salads or risottos, pasta, some dishes from tubers such as cassava, some pulses, creams, and also as accompaniment in the case of dishes from meat or fish.
However, the use of edible flowers is not limited only to being part of the dishes. In fact, they can also be used in the preparation of jams and jams, jellies and plates in syrup, as well as fermented beverages, with or without the alcohol content. In fact, they can also be presented as crystallized flowers, which is achieved by combining the flowers with the egg white emulsified with sugar. It is a laborious but very striking dish, which is why it is common in many avant-garde restaurants.
We have already commented that flowers are an ingredient that should be taken with caution due to the presence of toxic or poisonous types of flowers. However, within the edible flowers, another aspect that must be taken into account before consuming them is their high level of pollen presence. Pollen is a substance secreted by flowers for reproduction. This substance travels from the male sexual organs of the flower to the female ones, thus producing the fertilization and the production of one or several seeds that, normally, are usually accompanied by fruit. However, pollen is one of the substances that most allergies produce. Therefore, those people who suffer an allergy to a certain type of pollen should do without the consumption of flowers associated with that variety.
Types of edible flowers that we can include in our dishes
There is a fairly wide variety of flower types that can be included in the dishes. One of the most recommended ways to do it, especially if you are new to this type of cuisine, is to buy the product directly in a market or supermarket where ready-to-eat edible flowers are sold. If you do not have much idea of how to use them, a good option is to include the first in salads, which will allow knowing and identifying the flavors, which will allow us to adopt them in the future to different and more elaborate dishes. Some of the most common edible flowers that can be easily found are the following:
- Artichoke flower.
- Broccoli flower.
- Chamomile flower.
- Chive flower.
- Citrus flower like lemon, orange or grapefruit.
- Dandelion flower.
- Hibiscus flower
- Jasmine flower.
- Flower of thoughts.
- Calendula flower.
- Violet flower.
- Pumpkin flower.
- Zucchini flower.