Chamomile. Picture: Cotton Bro Pexels
Chamomile. Picture: Cotton Bro Pexels

6 great edible flowers to flavour your food and improve your health

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Oct 14, 2021

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Disclaimer: This information does not take the place of professional medical advice. Different people have various levels of tolerance for flowers. Not all flowers are edible. Do not use pesticides or chemicals on flowers you intend to eat or cook with.

Nothing says springtime in South Africa like the burst of colourful flowers that appear just as the weather gets warm.

What you may not know is that many of these beautiful creations can be used to top off your favourite dishes and drinks as well. As garden party season arrives, surprise your guests with their favourite edible flowers on their plate or drink, instead of in a vase.

There is a whole world of edible flowers to open your taste buds too. Just like herbs, there are many brilliant and unique flowers to explore. Edible flowers are a beautiful way to elevate any meal. They add a layer of artistry and dimension to dishes, plus a sweet, spicy, or floral flavour. It may be trendy, but it's nothing new.

For centuries, cultures around the world have brightened their recipes by adding flowers. In Roman times, for example, roses were used for cooking and flavouring food.

With a wide variety of edible blooms and flowering herbs, it’s helpful to know how to use them and the potential benefits of each. Let this guide to some of the best edible flowers serve as an inspiration to get creative in the kitchen and add more magic to your culinary creations.

Coriander

Coriander flowers and leaves are loaded with antioxidants and micro-nutrients. When the flowers and leaves are consumed, it helps keep blood sugar levels in check. This little flower also contains fibre, minerals, and vitamin K. Vitamin K aids in blood clotting and heart protection. While known to have a strong herbal taste, coriander flowers have been known to have a cooling effect on spicy foods.

Rose petals

Roses aren’t just beautiful. In fact, they offer health benefits too, according to experts. This edible flower helps to relieve headaches, reduce stress, calm indigestion, and relieve constipation. Use rose petals in tea, in salads, make a jam from them, or dry them to use as a tasty seasoning.

Lavender

This plant is edible and is known for its wonderful scent. It has a sweet flavour that enhances desserts, such as cakes, muffins, and custards. You can also harvest lavender for tea or add some lavender to white wine or champagne, to add some flavour and a pretty scent. When it comes to health benefits, lavender is known for creating a sense of calm and relaxation. It helps with sleep and can aid in getting rid of a headache.

Chamomile

Chamomile can be used fresh or dried, and makes a particularly nice tea that tastes more or less like apples. Experts suggest that you drink the tea in moderation, as some allergy sufferers may have a negative response. Otherwise, sprinkle the petals into salads and soups. Further, this tea provides you relief against mental tension, thanks to its calming properties.

Borage

This flower is a beautiful sky-blue colour. Borage has a cucumber flavour. Try adding it to fruit, green salads, lemonade, or gin drinks. It can also be frozen in ice cubes. Borage is a good source of fatty acids that can help regulate your metabolism. It also supports good cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Mint

Mint flowers and leaves provide a fresh zing of flavour to vegetables, fruit salads, desserts, and even sauces. This common herb is known for aiding digestion and soothing stomach ailments. According to the Flower Glossary, all flowers in the mint family can be eaten.

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