Edible Flowers: Hidden Farm Gems
Fresh cut flowers are something special — and they’re not just for Valentine’s Day! Did you know that there are plenty of flowers you can eat? Fruits are enjoyed the world over, and are actually the final stage of a flower. However, few people seem to know that there are flowers you can eat just as they are. Here at Moon Valley Farm our fields are plentiful with flowers, and that means more delectable treats for you!
Interested in learning what culinary flowers we’ll be growing, and how to use them in your kitchen? If so, we’ve put together this list of common edible flowers that you can find us offering throughout the season.
Chive flowers are delicate yet crisp. Their scent is sweet and floral, but once crushed they have a pungent chive flavor and aroma. They’re about the size of a grain of rice, but with paper-thin petals and a slightly bulbous base. Many flowers are at the end of each stalk, in a shape called an umbel that resembles a pom pom. Each flower is a pale purple color that really stands out on a plate!
Chive flowers are delicious sprinkled on fried eggs or bagels with cream cheese. They’re also amazing on potatoes, bbq tofu and arugula salads! Anywhere you’d want chives, try chive flowers.
If you’ve never seen rosemary bloom before it can be quite a surprise! This humble kitchen herb, which can almost look like a mini pine tree, sports beautiful purple flowers. Each flower is about the size of a small piece of popcorn. Their petals are delicate and the flavor is a gentler, more refined version of the rosemary leaves we’re all familiar with. The flowers are scattered across each stem, interspersed between the leaves. The best way to enjoy them is to strip them from the stem with your fingers.
Try rosemary flowers in roasted or braised carrots, as a garnish for grilled lamb or on mushrooms and mashed potatoes. You can also stir rosemary flowers into olive oil with salt, crushed garlic and chili flakes. This makes a wonderful dip for fresh bread!
Garlic Chive Flowers!
Garlic chive flowers are similar to chive flowers, but they are larger (about the size of a lentil) and their petals are a creamy white with thin brown stripes. Their flavor is a bit stronger as well, with a hint of raw garlic and a pleasant grassiness.
Try garlic chives as a garnish for pizza, baked potatoes, salads or steak. They’re also great on egg dishes and potato salad! Anywhere you want garlic chives, these gorgeous flowers will work wonders!
Each thyme flower is like a mini version of a rosemary flower, and they generally range from white to pink-purple in color. Because of their size, it’s difficult to separate thyme flowers from the leaves. Just like rosemary the small flowers grow interspersed with the leaves on a long stem. Thyme stems are woody so it’s best to strip the leaves and flowers from the stem by hand. The end result is a “salt and pepper” mix of flowers and leaves that are ready to go on your plate!
Try thyme flowers over roasted or grilled mushrooms, baked chicken or sprinkled on your favorite Italian dishes. You can also stir some into honey, and use this as a spread for cheese boards or fresh baked biscuits.
Sage flowers come in a variety of purple-blue hues, and have a strong sage flavor and aroma. They’re similar to rosemary, but a bit heftier and fleshier. Sage bears its flowers on a flower spike that looks almost like a mini Christmas tree. The stem can be tough and fibrous, so it’s best to gently strip the flowers off with your fingers.
Try sage flowers on roasted root vegetables, pork and poultry dishes and light pasta dishes with garlic and oil. These beauties also make a great substitute or addition to lavender flowers in any recipe that calls for lavender!
Garlic scapes are actually an immature flower. They’re picked before the flower opens, while they’re still tender.
Because of their heartier texture and long stem, you can use garlic scapes in place of, or in addition to, garlic and onions in any dish. The texture is similar to thin asparagus. The flavor is like mild garlic cloves with notes of leek and grassiness. Try frying garlic scapes in olive oil for pasta dishes, tossing them in pesto or using them in your favorite stir fry. They’re also lovely in omelettes and quiche!
Mint produces an attractive flower spike with petals that can range in color from white to pink to purple. Some edible flowers are best with savory food, but this one is a go-to for sweet foods. Mint stems are completely edible, and fairly soft in most mint flowers, but it can still be a nice touch to strip the flowers from the stem for garnishing. The flowers are tiny — the size of sesame seeds. The flavor and smell closely replicates the leaves — whether it be peppermint, spearmint or another variety. Flowers tend to be a little less pungent than the leaves though, and offer a more delicate texture that is a nice touch in many dishes.
Sprinkle mint flowers onto fruit salads or ice cream. You can also infuse them into simple syrup for a unique addition to dessert, cocktails or tea. Dropping mint flowers into a glass of still or sparkling water makes for a uniquely refreshing drink! Crush the mint against the sides of the glass a few times for a more pronounced flavor. This works equally well for lemonade!