With spring comes the burst of delicate blooms in a stunning array of hues that brighten gardens, trellises and wedding bouquets. Not only are they a visually appealing symbol of spring, they also lend a delicate flavor and a beautiful display to desserts.
You can eat flowers–yes, really–but only certain blooms are safe to consume. Follow these tips to ensure your spring treat is beautiful, tasty and healthy, and get with the flowers in food trend!
1. The easiest way to be sure you are safe in your selection of culinary flowers is to seek them out at specialty grocery stores or natural food stores. They are usually in the refrigerated section by the herbs. Rinse and pat them dry completely before using. These plant-based tea party cookies are an example of a healthy, springtime dessert that is safe (and delicious) for almost any diet. Make a glaze and press the flower into the glaze after the cookies are baked to maintain the flower's color and freshness like in these Plant-Based Tea Party Cookies.
2. Shop online from a reputable source. Sites like Gourmet Sweet Botanicals and Marx Foods produce and ship delicate edible flowers that have not been treated with pesticide. Sprinkle the clean petals onto a glazed donut or press it into frosting. Alternately, make your own candied petals by dipping them in egg white or brown rice syrup then dipping them into sanding sugar. Allow to dry on paper towels, then carefully arrange onto your desired dessert, such as this Paleo Superfood Fudge. You can also dry these blossoms and add them into your tea for a floral note.
3. Grow your own forget-me-nots, pansies and lavender. Check with a expert to ensure they are edible varieties, and take care with what sort of plant food and nourishment you give to your plants. Not all products are safe, so read ingredients carefully before fertilizing or treating. Lavender is an easy beginner's flower to both grow and add to dishes and desserts. It's a hearty plant that blooms tiny fragrant purple buds that are easy to remove.
Store a few lavender buds with your sugar in an airtight sugar jar to infuse the sugar with a hint of lavender without overwhelming the taste buds. Going too bold with lavender can sometimes bring to mind a bar of soap (not ideal in a food item), so start simple and subtle with the lavender sugar method.
4. If the idea of sourcing or incorporating fresh flowers is too overwhelming, go faux. Thin rice paper flowers are quite convincing and these edible pansies are an example of an easy and pretty way to brighten up your teatime treats. Splurge for the die-cut ones, to save a lot of time and frustration (trust me, have you ever painstakingly cut out rice paper pansies for a toddler's Enchanted Forest birthday party? No? Trust me. Pay the tiny bit extra). These pansies are lovely, completely edible and last longer than fresh flowers will.
5. The easiest way to serve a dish with fresh flowers is to arrange them across a smoothie bowl, stick them into a stack of pancakes or press them atop freshly cut produce. This yields a simple, colorful and flavorful dish that is absolutely perfect for warm spring weather.
Vegan Protein Chia Pudding
Ingredients: 1 cup coconut milk 1 scoop vegan protein powder 2 tsp pure maple syrup 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract dash of sea salt 1/4 cup white chia seeds Directions: 1. Blend all ingredients (except chia) in a blender to ensure the protein powder blends smoothly. If you're omitting the protein powder, you can just stir the ingredients together. 2. Stir in the chia seeds and store mixture in the fridge for several hours or overnight. 3. Serve plain or garnished with organic edible flowers.