Welcome travelers and Foody fans to another Traveling Foody blog. Spring is upon us and we have been prepping the garden for some wonderful vegetables and fruits. One of the major changes in our food this year was getting supplies for free and using recycled items as planters to hang. Lucky for us we live around farms just outside the city. Our big freebie this year is fertilizer from a local horse ranch. That combined with more worms, I think we will have a great year. We are so fortunate to have a space where we can grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, many of which are used to trade with others and as gifts to other families. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to give the gift of food you have so passionately and lovingly grown.
For the past few months, edible flowers have been coming up in various conversations. It all started with a phone conversation I had with my grandfather. He was telling me stories of his grandparents making wine and salads out of dandelions when he was growing up and this got the Traveling Foody family thinking of other edible flowers. With many country’s economic status being in a downward spiral, you can’t beat the freebies that Mother Nature provides us with. Another wonderful aspect of edible flowers is that they transform common food into a colorful journey. The colors and tastes provide our foods with excitement and contrast.
Here are a few tips on edible flowers. Please take the time to do a bit of research on when and what part of the plant you can eat. We know that you’ll find it very interesting and historic. Following are a few following plants you can eat:
Note: Please read up on each plant. There are stages and levels of consumption that you could become sick from. Please make sure you research when to harvest and if you are allergic to any of these plants. Some of these plants there are particular times and way to cook them.
Flowers you CAN eat:
- Tuberous Begonias
- Wax Begonias
- Dame’s Rocket
- Day Lilies NOTE: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation.
- English Daisy
- Apple Blossoms NOTE: Eat in moderation as the flowers may contain cyanide precursors. The seeds of the apple fruit and their wild relations are poisonous.
- Banana Blossoms
- Citrus Blossoms
- Elderberry Blossoms NOTE: All other parts of this plant, except the berries, are mildly toxic! They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide. The cooked ripe berries of the edible elders are harmless. Eating uncooked berries may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Garden Sorrel
- Chive Blossoms
- Garlic Blossoms
- Anise Hyssop
- Bee Balm
- Jasmine NOTE: The false Jasmine is in a completely different genus, “Gelsemium”, and family, “Loganiaceae”, is considered too poisonous for human consumption. This flower has a number of common names including yellow jessamine or jasmine, Carolina jasmine or jessamine, evening trumpetflower, gelsemium, and woodbine.
- Lavender NOTE: Do not consume lavender oil unless you absolutely know that it has not been sprayed and is culinary safe.
- Lemon Verbena
- Honeysuckle NOTE: Berries are highly poisonous – Do not eat them!
- Linden NOTE: Frequent consumption of linden flower tea can cause heart damage.
- Marigold Nasturtiums
- Tulip Petals NOTE : Some people have had strong allergic reactions to them. If touching them causes a rash, numbness etc. Don’t eat them! Don’t eat the bulbs ever. If you have any doubts, don’t eat the flower.
- Vegetable Flowers: NOTE: Avoid – the flowers of tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers.
- Broccoli Florets
- Corn Shoots
- Mustard NOTE: Some people are highly allergic to mustard. Start with a small amount. Eating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches.
- Pac Choy
- Pea Blossoms NOTE: Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous – do not eat.
- Radish Flowers
- Scarlet Runner Beans
- Squash Blossoms
- Yucca Petals
The most freely available to the planet is the dandelion. Like many others dandelions are filled with nutrients such as b vitamins, vitamin C, E and k and beta carotene. They also contain the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus and zinc.
Using the Dandelion
- Use the spring leaves for a salad. You may also us the bud before it blossoms and has a larger stem.
- Dry the leaves for making tea.
- Fresh leaves are good for juicing.
- Use the flower for salads
- Dandelion wine
- When the plant has matured, you can dry and roast the root then grind for a coffee substitute.
- Roots can be boiled to make a nutritious tea.
Dandelion Greens with Olive-Oil Dressing
- 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/4 Cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 Cup golden raisins
- 2 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Pound Spring dandelion leaves
Heat olive oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Then cook garlic and almonds, stirring frequently, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add raisins and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden and raisins are plumped, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Pour hot dressing over dandelion greens in a bowl, tossing with tongs to coat.
Thank you all for stopping buy and look out for the release of our Foodie Pets book in a couple weeks.
-Damien – The Traveling Foody