Edible flowers are always best when picked fresh from the garden, early in the morning, washed and dry gently, and used immediately as they will taste and look their best right after they have opened. But you have to remember that not all plants are edible. It’s important to remember that some flowers are poisonous so make sure to make a positive identification of each variety before using it to ensure your safety.
In the following lines let’s see together some of the edible flowers you can find on the French Riviera that you can use to prepare a fresh and colourful dish.
These beautiful blue star-shaped flowers from the borage plant add beauty to your plate. It tastes a bit like cucumber and some people describe it as a sweet honey taste which is why it is used frequently in salads. They are also delicious in lemonade and cocktails like gin and tonic. In European folk medicine, Borage leaves and flowers are used as a diuretic, sore throat aid, and natural remedy for exhaustion as it contains vitamins A and C, antioxidants that boost the immune system.
Oxalis leaves taste lemony and bright. This plant is actually a kind of sourgrass and is often referred to as wood sorrel. Its citrusy flavor is due to high levels of oxalic acid, also found in vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and vitamin C. While edible, Oxalis leaves should only be consumed in moderation due to the fact that oxalic acid can inhibit calcium absorption, and people who are prone to kidney stones or who have gout or rheumatism should avoid it entirely.
LAVENDER FROM PROVENCE
Lavender’s flowers have a lovely, intensely sweet flavor. You can use it with rich and fatty foods because it cuts through and lifts the overall flavor. Or, you can use them baked in scones, added to teas, candied for cakes, or to dress up salads.
The leaf, bud, petal, and hip of rose plants are edible and can be used in many recipes. Depending on the variety of rose plants, flavors range from fruit like strawberries and green apples to herb-like minty and spicy. The more fragrant the flower, the more flavor it offers. Roses have been used in dishes such as soups, salads, candies, and condiments.
The Rose petals are delicious in desserts, jellies, syrups, butters, and teas. Rosehips have been used in jams, wines, teas, sauces and soups. The rosebuds can be mixed with honey or tea. While the leaves are often used to make tea similar to black tea. A simple internet search and rose recipes are endless.
Courgette flowers are a beautiful seasonal treat. Savoured by foodies for stuffing, these delicate-looking flowers are actually quite robust and hold up to being deep-fried and stuffed; however, the best way to prepare them is in a beautiful and colourful salad and eat them raw.
always consider pollen allergies when working and cooking edible flowers. If you suffer from severe pollen allergies, even the slightest bit of pollen can trigger a reaction. It’s also important to note that you should always clearly state this on the list of ingredients as a possible allergen to keep your guests safe.
This article was written in collaboration with Maison del Gusto, Monaco’s premiere purveyor of gourmet food. Please contact us for more information and a colourful and fresh selection of edible flowers. www.maisondelgusto.com
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