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Edible Flowers: Why should you introduce them to your kitchen?

Edible Flowers: Why should you introduce them to your kitchen?

Sponsored Post | @indiablooms | 12 Feb 2020, 09:10 pm

Eating flowers isn’t a yet anothermillennial thinglike tide pods for gastronomic pleasures. Romans used rose petals for flavour and colour. Rosewater was an integral part of their baths and fountains too. In India, they are used for their therapeutic and healing properties in teas, culinary preparations and seasoning. Yes, yes, you heard it right!

Flowers are versatile and their versatility covers your kitchen too. You can send online flowers to Pune to express your love and heartfelt emotions. They can pep up that dull corner of your house, remove indoor pollutants and purify your air. And as if all that wasn’t enough, you can eat them too.

What do edible flowers taste like?

Just like common herbs like basil and mint, edible flowers add flavour and colour to a dish. They have a distinctive taste that may seem natural to you or over the time you acquire. In restaurant and bars, they are added to a variety of salads, cakes, ice cubes, teas, dressings, soups and drinks. Mainly petals are used because the stalk often has a bitter, unpleasant taste to it. The latter is also difficult to chew.

Also, the taste varies from one flower to another. The famous chamomile has honey-like sweetness and earthy notes of apple. The petals leave you with a silky texture in the mouth while being delicately floral in taste. Begonia, however, is pleasantly citrus. Daylilies taste exactly like melon and you won’t be able to resist Nasturtium’s peppery and sweet taste. The sweet saffron strands are also flowers and the costliest spice in the world.

But which flowers should you eat?

Take a stroll around your local market and chances are they are already selling them there. Since restaurants and eateries follow HACCP regulations, you are safe there unless you are allergic to them.  Some of the flowers that are not edible are lilies, wildflowers and store-bought flowers.

Lilies, crocus and foxgloves can cause diarrhoea, nausea, and dizziness, vomiting and skin irritation. They are even toxic to cats!

Wildflowers: It is very difficult to spot edible flowers even for an expert. In the wilderness, or alongside a road, the flowers often grow on untreated manure and are exposed to car exhaust, something that anybody would not like to consume.

Store-bought flowers: Online flower shops and stores are sprayed with pesticides and in most cases, herbicides. They aren’t fit to consume.

But are edible flowers good for you?

The Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, edible flowers can make up for nutrition needs to a great extent. While there is still no scientific study to back this up, several flowers are known to be high in macro and micronutrients. For instances, most edible flowers such as roses are high in vitamin C that builds up immunity and keep you safe from infections. According to the Vinyard Gazette, Nasturtium flowers have ten times more vitamin C than lettuce. Another floral publication, The Mindful Word suggests rose petals have Vitamin E and lavender flowers are a good source of Vitamin A.

And this is not it! Flowers like dianthus, viola and chrysanthemum are a great source of potassium, tells a medicinal journal, Molecules. Similarly, sesbania and pumpkin flowers provide traces of iron — flowers of lavender and borage supply micro traces of calcium.

The vivid colours of flowers aren’t for putting up some show. The deeper the colour, the richer the flower in antioxidants. Phytochemicals found in the colourful flowers have been proved to be a blessing for health.  Red roses have polyphenols that are beneficial for weight loss management and aid in digestive issues. Research by The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that marigold or calendula contain flavonoids that curb the free radicals and protect cells from damage. According to Elson M Hass, these flowers contain more antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin than kale or spinach, staving off age-related eye disorders. Violets supply rutin, an oxidant that reduces pain, inflammation and upholds health.

How to include edible flowers in your diet?

First and foremost, it is important to identify the flowers. It is better to have a home garden to grow culinary herbs and flowers so that you can control their feed and eventually, your nutrition. You can also grow them in containers if you are short on space. If you are buying edible flowers from an organic market, ensure it says ‘edible’ in its contents. If you are trying them for the first time, take baby steps and start with small quantities-like the way you do an elbow test with a face bleach or hair removal cream.If you don’t find any adverse reaction or allergies, you are good to go! You can also grind them into a paste, toss them into your sandwich to hide their flavour and until you develop a taste for them. You can also air-dry them or roast them in vinegar or olive oil to use them later. Store the preserved flowers in an air-tight container.

If you are using flowers from your garden, pick them in the morning or evening. Since flowers are perishable and delicate, you need to be gentle with them while washing. Shake out them gently for any bugs hiding inside. Keep them dipped in water to preserve their freshness and wipe away the dirt. Don’t put them in salad spinners if you intend to use them as a whole.

Please note that not all flowers are safe to eat, and some of them can be used in cooking or garnishing moderately. If you have any food allergies, it is recommended to consult your doctor before consuming them. If you have been sensitive otherwise to any food items in the past, you may or may not experience an adverse reaction to them. If you are unsure about anything, consult an expert on edible flowers or a reference book for more information. Make sure to remove stamens and pistils if you have pollen allergies.

Last but not least, don’t let this scare you off from trying edible flowers. Explore and experience! Enhance your palate because they are just another food and like any other food items, the edible floral arrangements need to be consumed in moderation and at ease.

Edible Flowers: Why should you introduce them to your kitchen?

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