If you've been anywhere near Instagram or Pinterest, it's likely that you've seen your fair share of edible flowers. These natural decor elements can be used to quickly dress up any dish, from plain shortbread cookies to the trendsetting ricotta toast. But, what else can they be used for? And which flowers are edible in the first place?
What's Cooking America states that edible flowers include hibiscus, lilac, pansies, roses, sunflowers, and violets. However, if you're using any sort of edible flower, make sure you do so safely, in moderation, and with confirmed identification. (In other words, do not go eating random plants!) An easy way to ensure that you're doing this is by purchasing from a legitimate retailer or trusted source.
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One brand that now sells edible flowers is Clevr Blends, which just launched a jar of Flower Sprinkles for $11. In collaboration with the female-run flower farm Sweet Mountaintop, this vibrant, easy-to-use blend includes dried calendula and bachelors button petals. With this in mind, it's always good to be aware of where your edible flowers are coming from.
As for how you can use edible florals and flower sprinkles, let's discuss.
1. Add to drinks.
From lattes in the name of self-care to dinnertime cocktails, flower sprinkles can be used to dress up any beverage. They will also add a lovely floral taste and scent to your favorite drinks, no matter the season. Though spring and summer are ideal for such flavors, you can consume edible flowers in fall and winter to remind you of warmer weather.
2. Use to flavor and decorate desserts.
One of our favorite ways to use edible flowers is as a dessert topping, for treats like cookies, cakes, and ice cream. You can make them stick to baked treats by using icing as glue, or attach them before baking with a bit of milk or egg wash. A handy vegan recipe for edible flower shortbread cookies can be found here.
3. Give savory items color and texture.
While florals and sweet foods go hand in hand, you can also use flower sprinkles in your savory dishes. For instance, add them to a bland-looking salad or avocado toast to make the meal pop with color. Edible flowers can even add extra texture to a dish that might be lacking in that department.
4. Freeze them in ice cubes or popsicles.
If you want to impress your guests or Instagram followers, add edible flowers to your ice cubes while they're freezing. This will make all your iced drinks feel extra special — even if the cubes end up going in a glass of plain old water.
In this same vein, consider adding edible flowers to popsicles. Simply place them in your mixture before freezing and, once they're ready, you'll have the most photographic ice pops around.
5. Turn them into candy.
If you're making hard candy with a transparent coloring, throw in some edible flowers to make it look like you bought them at a fancy store. This is an especially great idea for lollipops, and a recipe for that can be found right here.
You can even turn the edible flowers themselves into candy by coating them in simple syrup, heating them to remove moisture, and tossing them in sugar for sparkle. King Arthur Baking has more information about this process here.
6. Top off dips, spreads, and cheeses.
To take your dips and spreads from ordinary to extraordinary, sprinkle in some edible flowers. This is a particularly great idea for a cheese plate. Just look at how beautiful this goat cheese appetizer is when it's topped with pansy petals and campanula flowers.
7. Infuse them into syrups and liquids.
To give anything you're cooking or baking a floral undertone, simply infuse edible flowers into a liquid ingredient. For example, you can try making a sweet violet milk. This technique will also work with syrups, like a lavender syrup that you can use to flavor drinks like lattes.