Flowers needn't just decorate your dining table: They can play a starring role on your plate as well. Many common varieties of flowers are edible, and it's become relatively easy to find such blossoms at farmers’ markets or even packaged up in containers at chain grocery stores. Here are the flavor profiles of some of my favorite edible flowers and ideas for how to put these beautiful blooms to work.
And if you’re interested in adding a touch of old fashioned elegance to your cooking, read on to learn how you can easily candy rose petals, preserving their distinctive fragrance and flavor in a shimmery sugar coating.
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The Best Edible Flowers
- Profile: Mild and slightly sweet, similar in taste and texture to spinach
- Uses: Decorate baked goods such as cakes and cookies; add to salads or cold soups
- Profile: Sweet-tart, slightly bitter, peppery
- Uses: Freeze in ice cubes to garnish drinks
- Profile: Lemony, tart, juicy
- Uses: Mix into salads for a punch of citrusy flavor
- Profile: Bitter, woodsy
- Uses: Garnish salads
- Profile: Piney-peppery with notes of spearmint
- Uses: Use like saffron to infuse foods with a yellow-orange hue; dry and steep for tea
Profile: Bright and fruity, similar to cranberries or cherries
Uses: Dry, and then eat out of hand as a snack or steep to make a vibrant tea
- Profile: Aromatic and slightly sweet (Note: the darker the rose, the stronger the flavor)
- Uses: Candy; incorporate into a simple syrup for desserts and drinks
- Profile: Peppery, spicy
- Uses: Substitute in any place you would garnish with arugula or watercress
How to Make Candied Rose Petals
Candying rose petals with egg wash and sugar preserves their delicate floral-sweet flavor and fragrance, and I love using them to top cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. And unlike the fresh petals, the crystallized ones last up to two weeks—just make sure you place them in an airtight container, which you can leave at room temperature.
DIY Candied Rose Petals
½ cup sugar
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons water
2 cups rose petals, divided
1. Place sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk egg white and water together in bowl. Dip 1 petal into mixture and then firmly drag each side against edge of bowl to remove excess—this step is really important so don’t skip it. Petal should be coated in thin, even layer of egg wash.
3. Gently lay petal on top of sugar. Using spoon, sprinkle sugar over petal and shake dish to ensure petal is well coated. Carefully slide fork underneath petal and transfer to prepared sheet.
4. Repeat with remaining petals. Let petals stand, uncovered, until dry and crisp, at least 1½ hours or up to 24 hours.