Feasting on a salad, dessert, or entrée, made with edible flowers makes it all that much more special and decadent somehow, wouldn’t you agree? They definitely add a fresh fragrant vibe that’s hard to ignore.
Plus, as I’ve discussed in a previous post, studies have shown that flowers may possess some very potent health benefits due to their phenolic content and high antioxidant levels. They have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. In other words, they are a great way to enhance not only your food, but your health as well!
Discovering Bright Fresh Packaged Edible Flowers
So, when I was at the Natural Products Expo West trade show and a company official from Fresh Origins offered me a package of Bright Fresh Edible Flowers to try, of course I said “Yes!” without any hesitation. How could I have resisted? They were a feast for the eyes and the palate. Plus, when I found out they were organically grown, I was fully on board. No pesticides or herbicides to worry about. I could use them freely in my cooking whenever and however I wanted.
The container had a beautiful assortment of perfectly fresh flowers in an eye-catching array of colors: delicate white daisies; yellow, orange, gold, and burgundy marigolds; white and deep purple pansies; creamy white and lavender orchids; pink and mauve roses; and bluish-purple lavender. (Note: Flower selection can vary according to a company representative.)
When I inquired about their availability in stores, I was excited to learn that they are getting picked up by several retail chains. Awesome, right? Fresh edible flowers whenever you want to add some extra pizzazz and freshness to your culinary creations. No need to grow your own organic flowers to eat, which I realize only a very small percentage of the population probably does. And yes, that includes me! So be on the lookout for them in a store near you or check out the Fresh Origins website to see which stores are currently carrying them.
My Edible Flower “Experiment”
As I’m no gourmet cook, the first thing that popped into my mind was how I could use them. I had used single flowers in my cooking before (e.g., nasturtium flowers in a salad, rose petals on a cake, lavender in lemonade) and even written a post with links to some awesome flower recipes, but never had I used an assortment nor some of these particular flowers. And because they were perishable (a container lasts about 5-7 days in the fridge and I was going on day 5), there was no waiting until a creative moment struck. Stir fry? Maybe, but no. I didn’t want to mask the flower flavor too much. Dessert? Could work really well, but I wanted them in a meal. Entrée salad? Yes! It would be the perfect way to honor the fresh, delicate taste of the flowers, which is exactly what I was after.
Now, it had been a long day and I was not in the mood to run to the store to purchase additional ingredients for a special recipe — and I must admit I was even a little lazy about doing anything fancy — so I decided to use what I had on hand.
I eyed some leftover poached salmon in the fridge and figured that would be the perfect protein, because it wouldn’t overpower the flowers. Blueberries were calling my name, so I grabbed those. Next, I considered walnuts for crunch, but realized I was out. Drag. Then — this was the really fun part — I got to select the flowers! I settled on the daisies, marigolds, and roses and saved the lavender and orchids for something else.
When it came to choosing the dressing, I knew I had to select carefully. A light, sweet dressing to enhance the flowers and the berries seemed fitting. Something too herby or zesty would have been too much. A light champagne vinegar came to mind, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I chose a berry vinegar and a blood orange olive oil instead. After crossing my fingers and tossing the salad, I took my first bite.
You know what? It was awesome! I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I really liked the flowers, especially the small roses and daisies. They were just the right amount of floral with the salad greens and salmon. But I wasn’t quite sure how to eat some of the bigger flowers because of the stems. So I plucked them out of the salad and ate them sort of like shrimp — I held the stem as if it were the tail and ate the flower. Yum!
All the flowers lent such a nice, subtle taste to the salad and on an energetic level, I felt good eating them. I was truly lifted by eating this simple salad with flowers. It seemed spring had arrived — and it was in my salad bowl!
Now, my husband, well, he wasn’t so enthused about the salad. When I asked why, he said it was too floral and felt like he was eating flowers. Umm. Wasn’t that the point?! I was a little surprised at his lack of — and inability to connect with my — innate “hunter-gatherer” enthusiasm for these vibrant floral beauties I found and added to our meal.
After some contemplation (and I might add a little disappointment that my “gourmet feat” wasn’t well received), I realized maybe I should have broken up the larger flowers and just used the petals. That way the floral taste would have been a little more evenly distributed and not so overpowering. I guess it would have taken care of the “stem” problem as well. Another thought I had (had I been eating cheese at the time), was that I could have pressed some of the petals into bite-sized goat cheese balls. That would have looked beautiful and probably tasted really good, too. What do you think?
By the way, after making my salads, even with using several whole flowers, I definitely had a lot leftover. So, I think one package could easily be used for a few good recipes. Had I the chance to plan ahead a little more, I definitely would have used them in other ways, such as adorning a cheese platter or maybe even decorating a cake.
Should you try these edible flowers? I think so. Give them a go! And don’t be too hard on yourself if your first attempt isn’t 100% perfect! I can guarantee you they will brighten your meal and turn it into a special culinary treat!
Disclosure: A package of BrightFresh Edible Flowers was provided by the manufacturer.
Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2015. All rights reserved.
Photos © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2015. All rights reserved.