Ever see flowers scattered on food for decoration? Or did you always put them to the side of the plate or awkwardly ask the waiter if you can eat them? Yes? Me too! But only up until recently did I stop. I found out you can eat them and even better, they are good for you!
So not only do they look pretty and add colour to a plate or photo, they add nutritional value to your meal! But don’t go picking any ol’ flower, you can’t just pick a handful of flowers from the roadside and eat them. No no, you have to make sure you research into which you can eat and which you cannot. Some flowers can be poisonous and dangerous to consume by humans. Also, a point to note, even if the flower is edible, make sure it is not on or near a farm or gardens as fertilizers, animal feed or pest control sprays as they contaminate them and could do harm to the body.
A small list of Irish edible flowers includes:
- Sweet William
- Pot Marigolds
- Broad bean blooms
- Runner bean blooms
- Yellow trumpets of courgettes
- Dahlia petals
So how are they healthy? Consuming flowers allows you to gain vital micronutrients. Vitamins including; A & C as well as minerals such as; calcium, iron and phosphorous. Not only do they contain the more normal micronutrients, but they also contain a number of phytochemicals contributing to a variety of health benefits. These health benefits aid in reducing disease and are anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective (brain-protective) and antioxidants (fighting harmful free radicals).
Many flowers aid in overall health not necessarily just nutrition. Calendula and elderberry blooms aid in digestion and improving the immune response, saving you from that fever or cold you may be fighting during this winter spell!
Need help in having a good night sleep, grab yourself a cup of chamomile tea before bed or have a cheeky wee slice of lavender cake (portion sized of course! 😉). These will not only help with a good night sleep but will aid in relaxation too. If you need help during summer fighting those allergies, sprinkle some Goldenrod over your summer salad and that should aid in the sniffles!
If you have asthma or do suffer from severe pollen allergies or hay fever, please remove the pollen producing organ (the fancy words are pistil and stamen). For everyone that wants to give flower power a try, be careful and try a little bit first just in case you have an allergic reaction or digestive issue, we don’t want that and I’m sure you don’t either.
If you want to add colour and flavour to a dish, just add some flowers! No seriously, different flowers give off a different taste alongside obviously different colours too. Lilac, honeysuckle and scented geranium all add that floral flavour to various meals and foods. Other flavours include; spicy (radish flowers and arugula (rocket)), bean-like (redbud and tulip), Bitter tang (chicory, sunflower and english daisy) and a citrus tang (tuberous begonias).
Where to get edible flowers? Well the garden and woods for sure…florists stock them as well as some supermarkets. However, some Irish online suppliers include; mrmiddleton.com and bulbs.ie. A UK online suppler is peternyssen.com.
“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul” (and maybe the food too!) – Luther Burbank