In Chinese Medicine many flowers are used in the Materia Medica. They cure particular ailments depending on their respective flavors and colors and other qualities. Some are used for hot conditions, some for cold conditions, some for moving the blood or making bleeding stop. Regardless of their variance in treatment abilities, flowers do have one thing in common- they bloom. As Chinese Medicine is a symbologic medicine, the action of a plant or its parts in nature, is going to mirror the action of this plant or plant part in the body. Flowers, therefore, in the body, all bring qi to the surface, in an outward moving motion, just as a flower begins in a tight bud and blooms out. For this reason, flowers are an excellent diaphoretic, and are often used at the onset of an exterior invasion (when one ‘catches a cold’) to induce sweating, in order to push out the pathogen. Within the same mechanism of their outward moving action, flowers are also wonderful aids in benefitting the immune system, as they add energy to the ‘wei qi,’ or exterior, protective energy system, fortifying the body’s defenses. And, flowers are delicious to eat!
Many herbs grow flowers that can be used in salads and as garnishes. Sage, hyssop, mustard greens, and cilantro all have delicious flowers to eat. Nasturtiums, petunias, roses, marigolds, chamomile, lavender and passion flowers are all delicious and nutritious flowers you can also incorporate into your diet. Check your garden patch or grocer today for an edible blooming delight to incorporate into your kitchen fun!
Ten Rules of Edible Flowers for Edible Flower Recipes
1. Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible.
2. Just because flowers are served with food does not mean they are edible.
3. Eat only the flowers that have been grown organically.
4. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers unless you know they have been grown organically.
5. If you have hay fever, asthma or allergies, do not eat flowers, or do so cautiously.
6. Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road. They may be contaminated from car emissions.
7. Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only the petals.
8. Not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous.
9. There are many varieties of any one flower. Flowers taste different when grown in different locations.
10. Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby- one at a time in small quantities.
This list is from Edible Flowers, From Garden to Palate, by Cathy Wilkinson Barash
Here are ideas for edible flower recipes:
- Infused vinegars
- Syrups and jellies
- Beverages, wines, meads
- Flower butter
- Dips and spreads
- Garnish and color
Arugala, Eruca vericaria Salads, snacking Nutty, spicy, peppery flavor Borage, Borago officinalis Salads, snacking Tastes like light cucumber, remove thorny backside Bachelor button,Centauria cynaus Salads Sweet to spicy, clovelike Burnet,Sanguisorba minor Salads Flavorless, but colorful Calendula,Calenudla officinalis Salads, teas Spicy, tangy, ‘poor man’s saffron’ adds golden color to foods Daylily,Hemerocallis species Salads, sautés Sweet, crunchy, somewhat like a water chestnut Lavender,Lavendula species Salads, teas Floral, strong perfumey flavor, use very lightly for color Marigold,Tagetes tenuifolia Salads, teas Spicy to bitter Nasturtium,Tropaeolum majus Salads Sweet, mildly pungent to peppery flavor Onion/garlic,Allium species Salads, stir fry Sweet onion, garlic flavor Pansy, Viola spp. Salads Mild sweet to tart flavor Pea, Pisum species (sweet pea is poisonous) Salads, stir fry Tastes like peas, also add tendrils or fresh new shoots Rose, Rosa species Salads, teas, infusions Sweet, aromatic flavor; remove the white bitter portion of petals Rosemary,Rosmarinus officinalis Salads, teas Pinelike, sweet, savory Squah Blossom,Cucurbito pep species Salads, sautés, stuffed/battered Sweet, nectar flavor Thyme, Thymus vulgaris Salads, teas Lemony, adds a nice light scent Violet, Viola species Salads, teas Sweet, nectary flavor