March is the rebirth of live. March is synonym of spring, colors, flowers, happiness and love, and therefore you should have it at your table and not just as decoration.
After almost disappearing from the cookbooks and from the kitchen, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in trend once again. Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman empire, and Asian cultures (China and India). Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign.
Rules and precautions before eating flowers
It is important that the flowers are picked with caution:
- Eat flowers you know to be consumable
- Eat flowers you have grown yourself or were grown in an organic farm (the flowers from florist a usually not safe because of the pesticides)
- Do not eat roadside flowers or from public areas
- Remove pistils and stamens, eat only the petals
- If you suffer from allergies, it is recommended that you speak with your physician
- Keep the flowers fresh by placing them on moist paper towels and refrigerate in an airtight container
10 edible flowers
- Calendula aka Marygold (Calendula officinalis) – The little orange petals release flavors from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. It is an excellent garnish to every dish!
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Floral, sweet and colorful is everything that is necessary to garnish any dish, ice-creams and desserts. It gives a special touch when added to a glass of champagne and blends perfectly with chocolate cake. Who never tried lavender cookies?
- Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) – as the name suggests, it has a very fresh citrus aroma and besides the herbal tea, it’s used to flavor custards and flans
- Allium (Allium spp.) – All blossoms from the Allium family are edible (e.g. onion, garlic, leeks) – most of the species from this family are totally edible. Usually the taste is identical to the plant by itself: range from mild onion right through to strong onion and/or garlic.
- Viola (Viola tricolor) – The delicate colorful Johnny jump-ups or Heartsease, reveals a sweet, perfumed flavor, some say that when cooked, the taste resembles spinach. Perfect to embellish salads, desserts and iced drinks. It may be crystallized as well.
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – From the same plant that gives aromatic leaves that are always accompanied with sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, comes the white, purple or pink flowers that will make a lot of difference at any table. The flowers release a fresh smell identical to the leaves, but there are other varieties with different milder flavors like lemon and mint.
- Thyme (Thyme spp.) – although there are several genus of Thyme, my favorite is lemon thyme to give Pungent, aromatic, spicy, unique and characteristic flavor identical to lemon. The flower can be used anywhere you use the leaves: e.g. seasoning soups and meats.
- Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) – With a characteristic aroma of sweet anise / licorice, the blossoms make a distinct addition to any salad.
- Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) – to use the surprisingly luscious petals in desserts (or steeped in wine or liquor like Chartreuse – French liqueur), previously cut them away from the white base of the flower (usually the white part is bitter).
- Dill (Anethum graveolens) – The flowers and the leaves have similar flavors: spicy and strong taste reminiscent of cumin and fennel (anise).
When Spring Comes
When spring comes,
If I’ve already died,
The flowers will bloom in the same way
And the trees won’t be less green than they were last Spring.
Reality doesn’t need me.
I feel incredibly happy
When I think my death has absolutely no importance.
If I knew I was going to die tomorrow,
And Spring came the day after tomorrow,
I would die peacefully, because it came the day after tomorrow.
If that’s its time, when else should it come?
I like it that everything is real and everything is right;
And I like that it would be like this even if I didn’t like it.
And so, if I die now, I die peacefully
Because everything is real and everything is right.
They can pray in Latin over my coffin if they want to.
It’s alright with me if they dance and sing all around it.
I don’t have any preferences about when I won’t even be able to have preferences.
What comes, when it comes, will be what it is.
– Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa’s first great heteronym)
Pessoa, Fernado. “Quando Vier a Primavera.” Poemas Completos De Alberto Caeiro. N.p.: Luso Livros, n.d. 120-21. Poemas Completos De Alberto Caeiro. Luso Livros, 21 June 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.
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