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Edible flowers are pretty on your plate, seriously romantic and full of flavour and health benefits. In other words, the perfect accompaniment to a homemade meal this Valentines Day!
But before you serve up the big bunch of tulips that your beau gave you for Valentines Day – read on! Because lots of flowers really are just nice to look at (and not intended for human consumption). Here are six of our fave edible flower varieties that are sure to impress this Valentines Day. Just remember to source them from an organic store or artisan grocer to ensure you’re eating food grade blooms.
High in vitamin E and C, and minerals such as zinc, iron and selenium, the rose is regarded as a natural mild-sedative which contains mood-enhancing properties. It is increasingly used to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and on a much larger scale, heart disease. The rose can also assist with digestive issues such as constipation.
Culinary uses: Its delicate flavor makes it the perfect garnish on a dessert. It’s also a great infusion for hot tea. Add petals your next cup for an aromatic experience or even flavour your own honey.
Think – the spicy, peppery, slightly tangy taste of watercress. Nasturtiums’ sunset hues of yellow, bright orange, scarlet and red are indicative of its large vitamin C content. Which means? A strengthened immune system. Hailed as a natural antibiotic, they have been known to reduce the severity of respiratory infections and aid the onset of the common cold.
Culinary uses: Just about every part of the entire flower (including leaves, stems and seeds) can be utilised. Sprinkle over salads, blend in with home-made salsas and pickle the seeds which can be a substitute for capers.
Antioxidants and flavonoids, tick! Also golden yellow in colour, their sharp taste is said to be similar to saffron. Marigolds are known to aid digestion, reduce fevers and stimulate the immune system. They also contain numerous antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Lycopene, which is found in marigold, has been reported to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Culinary uses: Ideal for salads, soups, seafood dishes or warm desserts. It can also be brewed into a tea, or mixed to make herb butters. When added to things like rice, marigolds act like a natural food colouring – releasing a yellow stain – perfect for curries. Petals can be used dry or fresh.
Found in various colours from violet to white, these mini flowers have a slightly sweet, grassy, lettuce-like flavor. They contain salicylic acid as well as rutin which are thought to strengthen the capillaries and blood vessels in the human body. Violas have also been used as a natural way to treat arthritis, headaches and physical aches and pains as salicylic acid holds the same anti-inflammatory properties that are found in aspirin.
Culinary uses: Utilise the entire flower as a garnish for salads and soups. Or make a fresh, earthy vinaigrette dressing.
Distinguishable by its star-shape and deep pink, purple and blue shades, borage flowers have a cool, faint cucumber taste with a hint of sweetness. The herb parts contain essential fatty acid (GLA) which is responsible for healthy-looking skin. It is also particularly rich in niacin (vitamin b-3) which again, boosts several anti-ageing properties.
Culinary uses: Freeze them in ice cubes, add to sorbets and fruit juices, sprinkle over soups and salads, and mix into home-made dips. Brew into a tea to cleanse the skin from the inside out.
Commonly used to reduce symptoms of sinusitis including fever, dry eyes, headaches and sore throats. Chrysanthemums also help regulate hypertension as they increase blood flow to the heart, and are a great remedy for calming nerves and easing stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. Known as the radicchios of edible flowers, they are tangy and bitter in taste.