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Edible Flowers

 
Posts: 315
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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As with all edibles, different people have different tastes. The oxeye daisy tastes exactly like shungiku (or "chop suey greens") which to me is unappealing and I'll give it a miss from now on.  The daylily, I like a lot, usually in stir fry.

It is hard to know what flowers are edible in the Dominican Republic, since people here don't seem to eat flowers habitually (which is odd, because they will eat guavas in the hard, green stage, which to me are just nasty). I have heard of some Asian cultures where people eat banana flowers, so if I can figure out how to prepare them, I shall have to try them -- Dominican practice is to cut off the flower after a section of stem without any bananas forms, so that the plant will put energy into the existing bananas instead of more flowers.
 
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Just the other night I was reading a cookbook on Native American cuisine, "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen" by Sean Sherman, that I got from the library and saw a section where he's preparing sunflowers, not the seeds, but the pith sections of the flower heads, trimming off everything else and then braising them in a pot.  I never knew that part of the sunflower was edible!  I'm definitely going to have to plant some sunflowers next year to both get the seeds and then try this with the heads!  
 
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Location: Southern NH, zone 5a(ish)
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I'm enjoying the new flower forum, and seeing some of these older posts I never happened across before!

An edible-flower rite of spring I miss now that my kids are grown is dandelion fritters.  Yes, the dandelion flowers are edible!  The posse of neighborhood kids would gather a huge bowl, and I would dip them in a thin pancake-type batter, fry them, and then sprinkle them with powdered sugar.  They would then march the tray around to each house in the neighborhood and give samples, because it was very important to them that everyone discover that you could eat dandelions!  

LOL, I hadn't thought of this in years.  Maybe next year I'll harvest a big batch of dandelion flowers and attempt wine instead.
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
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I don't think I've seen mention of three of my favorites. Redbud and Virginia waterleaf flowers are amazingly sweet. Sweet cicely is delicious as well, tastes a bit like anise, but better. They're all gorgeous flowers, too.
Of course with the sweet cicely, you really want to be extremely familiar with the plant and positive in your identification, given the similarity to poison and water hemlock. The crushed leaves and stems smell and taste like anise too. It took me over a year of living with it to feel comfortable eating it. But so worth it!
 
pollinator
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Foraging in the garden for flowers. How nice. I like watching the pollinators too. Finding lots of oyster mushrooms currently.
Fun pictures. Thanks
 
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Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
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I know alliums have been mentioned a couple of times already, but seasonal right now in the UK is wild garlic or ramsons.  The flowers taste garlicky but also sweet if you wait until they are fully open rather than going for the buds.  Popular with my teenager on a bike ride yesterday!  
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Heather Olivia wrote:I don't think I've seen mention of three of my favorites. Redbud and Virginia waterleaf flowers are amazingly sweet. Sweet cicely is delicious as well, tastes a bit like anise, but better. They're all gorgeous flowers, too.
Of course with the sweet cicely, you really want to be extremely familiar with the plant and positive in your identification, given the similarity to poison and water hemlock. The crushed leaves and stems smell and taste like anise too. It took me over a year of living with it to feel comfortable eating it. But so worth it!


Oh my, I had just learned about our native Ballhead waterleaf here in Montana last week. Not my picture, but here it is to show all its beauty.


(image souce)

And inspired by Heather's experience with the Virginia variety, I looked it up, and low and behold, ours is edible too! This guy writes the following about it here:

All parts are edible. The blossom is a perfect little garnish. The root is savory and has substance. Leaves taste more appealing and sweeter than the flower and stems, which are mild and reminiscent of alfalfa.  


The roots branch into a cluster of small fingers and are the preferred part to eat—crunchy and a bit earthy. The sweet carrot-tasting leaves can be eaten raw or cooked but are best when young. If collecting the flower, wait until it is fully opened to avoid unsavory furriness. It is neutral in flavor and texture, so use as a garnish or entertainment while hiking.


So this guy's opinion is that the Ballhead waterleaf flowers are not very sweet, which is different than your experience with the Virginia waterleaf, Heather.

Though I think I have found that if you happen to be able to harvest a flower just after it opened, and before the nectar has been harvested by pollinators, that it is far sweeter. Kind of like being a kid and sucking nectar from the base of clover blossom parts. Some have it, some don't because it was already taken!

Has anyone else noticed the varying sweetness of flowers depending on the nectar?

 
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