Not just for show, edible flowers can add spice
and depth of flavor to a summertime dinner menu
LOCALLY SOURCED EDIBLE FLOWERS
IF YOU’VE NEVER TASTED A NASTURTIUM,
NOW’S THE TIME.
Most of our locally sourced edible flowers are in full bloom at the peak of summer heat. Some, such as dandelions and chives, bloom in Spring and early June – but they will often put out a scattered round of late-season blossoms, so be on the lookout for these as well.
BEFORE YOU TASTE IT …
Be sure you are absolutely sure the plant was grown without any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers that accumulate on blossoms, making flowers more toxic than other parts of the plant. In other words, don’t wildcraft your edible flowers from, say, the gorgeous marigold and pansy planters on the Cooper Avenue Mall in Aspen.
Instead, talk with your friends at your favorite farmer’s market. Or ask your next-door Deadheads if they will let you deadhead their chives. (Promise them a round of the Boozy Blossom recipe and you’ll be well on your way toward a neighborly last-minute potluck.)
WHEN HARVESTING EDIBLE FLOWERS
Hold trumpet-shaped blossoms such as nasturtiums upside-down and shake them gently so earwigs and other critters can escape. (Organic gardeners will say that critters inside blossoms are a very good thing.)
DON’T EAT THE WHOLE THING
Some edible flowers come from plants whose leaves, stems or roots are poisonous. If in doubt, stick with the blossom.
SAVE IT FOR LATER
It’s is easy to dry flowers in our arid climate. The best edibles to dry are chamomile, chives, lavender, marigolds, pansies, and roses.
EDIBLE FLOWER RECIPES
This summer cocktail mixer works well with lavender, roses, marigolds, or chamomile.
It can be adapted for any spirit.
white sugar – 2 cups
water – 2 cups
roses or chamomile – 2 cups
lavender or marigolds – 1 cup
gin, vodka, bourbon, or tequila
fresh blossoms for garnish
Make an edible flower syrup by bringing sugar, water, and blossoms to a low simmer in a non-aluminum pan. Create the purple color shown here in our Spiked Lavender Lemonade by adding a quarter-cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to the syrup.
Reduce the volume by one-third.
Cool, strain, pour into a bottle.
COMBINE THE FOLLOWING IN A SHAKER:
2 ounces of booze per pour
1 ounce of flower syrup per pour
Feel free to add mixers and follow your instincts when combining flavors. The Spiked Lavender Lemonade shown here contains 6 ounces of Santa Cruz Organic lemonade per pour.
Shake, strain, pour, garnish, share, sip, repeat.
Just so you know – “compound” is only a fancy way of saying “flavored butter.”
Try this with any edible flower. Chives and nasturtiums bring spice to corn on the cob. Add a little honey if you try this with anise or pansies. Keep in the fridge for one week.
1 pound salted butter
a handful of blossoms from edible flowers
Allow butter to soften at room temperature.
Gently rinse and dry the flowers and fold them into the butter, mixing slowly to avoid crushing the blossoms.
Press the edible flower-butter mixture into a silicone ice cube tray or candy mold. Or, scoop it directly into the serving bowl you plan to use. Chill. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.
Fancify your pancakes. Add some crazy fun to your corn-on-the-cobb. Get daring with mashed potatoes.
You can’t go wrong scattering edible flowers on your ZA. Do this with squash blossoms, calendula, dandelions, columbines, chives, and flowers from your favorite culinary herbs, such as basil and thyme. This is a “white” pizza because a red sauce will overpower the subtle flavors of the flowers.
pizza dough. (Frozen, fresh, scratch, gluten-free, your call)
2 cups mozzarella
4 oz goat cheese
1 jar alfredo sauce
A handful of blossoms
You know the deal. Just add the edible flowers last.
The pizza shown here features zucchini squash blossoms. If you find a small fingerling with the blossom intact, brush the zucchini with a small amount of olive oil before baking. Otherwise, the zucchini may dry out or become rubbery.
In the summer, a hot oven can make your house warm and stuffy. Try baking pizza in your barbecue grill. A high-temp grill and charcoal flames can mimic a wood-fired pizza oven. Just know that cooking times will be shorter.
BLESSINGS ON YOUR BLOSSOMS
(A favorite summer dinnertime blessing)
Blessings on our blossoms, blessings on our roots, blessings on our leaves and stems and blessings on our fruits.
Edible Flower Nasturtium artwork shown above: created by Elana Royer of LILYBART
FIND EDIBLE FLOWERS at your favorite local Farmer’s Markets