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Music – “The Lovelies (sic) Flower In My Garden” from Sanctuary by Gandalf. Released: 2009
Anyone who has ever read William Shakespeare’s, “Romeo and Juliet”, will recall the phrase uttered by Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, in which she maintains that naming things is irrelevant, it is what they “are” that matters.
Despite the title of the 1960’s TV series, based on a movie, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies“, daisy petals are edible. For people, who love flower gardens like myself, we try to surround ourselves with the fragrance and beauty of flowers.
Living in the high desert of Albuquerque my gardening skills are put to the test and many of the flowers that I lovingly raised, while living in Canada, I have had to forsake them here….Roses, Lilacs, Peonies just do not do well in the environment of the Southwest.
Many of us plant vegetable gardens as well, tending to forget that many of the flowers we raise are also edible. There are many books on edible flowers, and in my collection I have one, “The Flower Cookbook” by Adrienne Crowhurst. The edition I have was published in 1973.Ms. Crowhurst also authored “The Weed Cookbook”. As Spring is right around the corner (I know those of you living in the Northeast would disagree with me!), a few recipes using edible flowers to brighten our kitchen and our plates is in order.
I’ve selected a few recipes from her book, for some of the more common flowers gardeners have in their gardens. Of course, it goes without saying that you should never sample any flowers, which have been sprayed with pesticides or insecticides and picking wildflowers by the road or in fields is inadvisable. The best bet is to use only those flowers that you’ve grown yourself.
I once had a junior high school French teacher, who, in a last ditch attempt to get the attention of the class, picked a daffodil from a vase on his desk and proceeded to devour the entire flower, stem, leaves and all. I assumed, therefore, that Daffodils were edible, however, they are not and can be quite toxic, so “Please Don’t Eat the Daffodils!” Come to think of it, I recall that we had a substitute teacher for some time after that incident.
Rose Petal Salad
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups Rose petals (rinsed and carefully drained)
1 head of escarole or 2 cups young Dandelion leaves
2 cups boiled, diced potatoes, cold
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice (or Rose petal vinegar)
½ cup salad oil
1 teaspoon tarragon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Rub the inside of a salad bowl, preferably wooden, with the garlic. Place the Rose petals, saving some to sprinkle over the top, the shredded escarole or Dandelion leaves, diced potatoes, and eggs into the bowl. Blend together the lemon juice or vinegar, oil, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Sprinkle the remaining Rose petals over the top (serves 4)
12 Tulip flowers, stems, stamens and pistils removed
2 cups small shrimp, fresh or canned
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
lettuce or violet leaves
Wash the Tulips in ice-cold water and drain. Blend together the shrimp, mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper. Fill each Tulip with the mixture and arrange on a bed of lettuce or violet leaves. Crabmeat, canned salmon or tuna could also be used for the filling. (serves 6)
(caution: although Tulip leaves (not the bulbs) are deemed edible, some people are allergic to them, so exercise caution)
The variety of edible flowers is amazing, from Apple Blossoms to Yucca flowers. Stuffed Squash Blossoms are a frequent feature in menus of the Southwest. If you have a lot of Poppies you can make Poppy Wine or a Poppy Seed Log.Pick up one of many books on edible flowers or check with your local garden society for a complete list of edible flowers. A number of websites provide lists and charts, with photographs of edible flowers. Note that, while the petals and leaves of some flowers may be edible, most of the bulbs and stems are not. When in doubt, don’t eat it!