Rules & Recipes for Gathering & Eating Flowers
First of all, do not eat flowers if you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. And eat only those that have been grown organically and have no pesticide residue. If you gather flowers locally, check with the landowner to find out what pesticides or fertilizers are used on that land. Do yourself a favor and start a garden of just the flowers you like to eat and keep it organic and clean.
The best time to collect flowers for consumption is during the cooler times of day when the Sun is not wilting them or making them drop petals. Early morning is good but wait until the dew has evaporated. After a rain is fine but allow the flowers to dry before using. Early evening is a nice time, too, but be sure to avoid areas rich with flying insects like mosquitoes and gnats. Wash and dry the flowers after collecting no matter what or when to rid them of dirt, pollution, bugs and other outdoor residues.
Try to choose the healthiest flowers and avoid those that look limp, wilting, broken, missing a lot of petals or discolored in some way. As a general rule, you should remove the stamens and styles from flowers before eating as the pollen can detract from the flavor and some people are allergic to it.
Flowers you can eat whole:
Johnny-jump-up, Violet, Runner Bean, Honeysuckle, and Clover.
Remove the sepals of all flowers except Violas, Johnny-Jump-Ups, and Pansies.
Only eat the petals and not the stems or leaves of Roses, Calendula, Tulips, Crysanthemums Yucca, and Lavender.
Many flowers have a bitter white portion at the base of the petal where it was attached to the flower so it is a good idea to remove this portion before using.
Dandelion leaves are delicious in salads or cooked as a green. Get them when they’re very young and remove the sepals. Older plants can be tasteless.
The only flower you can eat every part of it is Nasturtiums. They are delightful.
Rose Layered Dessert
1 cup fresh Red and Pink Rose Petals
4 Bananas, mashed
4oz chopped Dates
2 tbsp Mincemeat
4 tbsp Rose Petal Jam (recipe below)
Juice of 2 Oranges
Rose Scented Whipped Cream (recipe below)
Crystallized Rose Petals
Sweet Cicely Seeds
First Make Rose Petal Jam:
1 lb fresh Rose Petals
6-8 Rose Scented Geranium Leaves
3 cups Sugar
1 1/4 cups Water
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
Method for Rose Petal Jam:
Pick off the white bases from the Rose Petals. Discard any damaged or discolored Petals. Keep only the best!! Wash and dry these Petals and the Geranium Leaves carefully. Wash thoroughly with cool water and then pat dry. The easiest way to do this is to place them in a strainer and run water over them until it runs clear.
Place the Petals and Leaves into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir in half the Sugar. Mix the Sugar into the Petals and Leaves really well and then cover the bowl. Leave for 2 days, stirring occasionally. After two days, discard the Geranium Leaves.
Put the remaining Sugar, Water and Lemon Juice into a cooking pan and heat over medium heat. Heat only until the Sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Stir in the Rose Petal mixture. As soon as the Sugar has completely dissolved, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil rapidly for 20 minutes and stir occasionally until the Jam reaches setting point. The thickness of the jelly should be consistent and firm.
Spoon the warm Jam into glass jars and lock. Allow to cool in a dry, dark place. Don’t forget to label. After the first use, refrigerate.
Now Make Rose Scented Whipped Cream:
Handful of fresh Rose Petals
Glass Container with Stopper or Lid
Wire Wisk or Hand Mixer
Method for making Rose Scented Whipped Cream:
This is also a simple recipe with delightful results. How romantic!! Rose scented Whipped Cream!! Think of what fun you can have with this treat.
Cut the “heels” off of the Rose Petals. That is the white part at the base of the Petal. It has a bitter, unpleasant taste. Take all of the snipped Petals and wash them thoroughly, patting them dry. Be very sure there is no dirt or debris on them.
Place the washed and snipped Petals into the Glass Container. Pour the Whipping Cream over the top of the Rose Petals. Stop or Cork the container and leave it in the refrigerator for a few days. Shake the container from time to time to aid the release of the Rose Scent into the Cream.
After several days, strain out the Cream over a wire strainer. Using the Wire Whisk or Hand Mixer, beat the Whipping Cream to a frothy mix. Decorate with Rose Petals when serving.
Once you have made these two recipes, then continue with the method for making the Rose Layered Dessert:
Snip off the white heels from the fresh Rose Petals. Wash the Petals thoroughly in cool water and pat dry. Make sure they are free of dirt and debris. Once they are washed, lay them out on a glass serving dish. Make sure they completely cover the bottom and sides of this dish and that a layer of them actually protrudes along the outsides of the dish. The dish should be flat but not a plate.
In a seperate dish or bowl, mix together the Bananas, Dates and Mincemeat. Layer this mix over the layer of Rose Petals on the serving dish. Allow the Rose Petals to protrude from the sides of the serving dish under the Banana mix. Spread over the top of this mix a thin layer of the Rose Petal Jam.
Just before serving, sprinkle this dessert with the Orange Juice. Add a layer of the Rose Scented Whipped Cream. Decorate with crystallized Rose Petals and Sweet Cicely Seeds.
Honeysuckle and Peach Cheese
2 lbs of Peaches
1 1/4 cups of Water
1 cup Honeysuckle Flowers (wash and dry before using)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Do not peel the Peaches but half them and then cut them in eight slices. Remove the pits from 6 of the Peaches, crack them and discard the shells. Set aside the kernels and then put them with the Peaches in a pan with the Water, Honeysuckle Flowers and the Lemon juice. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the Peaches are tender.
Press the fruit through a nylon strainer, gathering the pulp. Weigh the pulp you have and add in an equal amount of sugar in ounces or pounds. Cook this over low heat, stirring frequently. Do this until the paste is thickened and dry and you can drag a spoon through it and leave a mark. This can take as long as 60 minutes.
Spoon the paste into containers, cups or molds. Grease the container first to keep it from sticking. Cover over with waxed paper and then seal with the container lid. Use it like cheese. It’s great with Ham.
1 cup Clove Carnations
1 1/2 cups White Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
2 blades of Mace
Remove the white base of the petals on the Carnations and also cut off the calyx. Thoroughly wash the Carnations and dry them thoroughly on paper towels.
Put the remaining ingredients into a pan and heat slowly until the Sugar dissolves. Once the Sugar melts, raise the heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for a full 3 minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Pack the flowers into small, sterilized jars (canning jars are perfect) and then pour the Vinegar mix over them to cover. Close the jars with lids (no metal lids or the Vinegar will rust them). Label for future use and store in a cool dark place. Delish!
3 1/2 cups of Superfine Sugar
2 cups of Hot Water
4 large fresh Elderflower Heads
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
Juice and pared rind of 1 Lemon
8 1/2 pints of Water
1. Heat the 8 1/2 pints of water almost to boiling
2. Mix the sugar with the hot water
3. Add all the remaining ingredients except the Lemon rind
4. Pour the mixture into a large glass or plastic container
5. Stir well, cover and leave for 5 days
6. Strain the liquid into screw-top plastic or glass bottles
7. Leave for another 5-7 days
8. Chill until very cold before serving
9. Pour into Champagne Flutes and serve with slivers of the Lemon rind.
Have fun with these interesting recipes and look for more to come in the future.