Nasturtium, marigolds, roses, lavender, peonies, and geranium to name a few, there are so many gorgeous flowers we can eat that will add lovely color and flavor to our cooking and baking. Here are some more: chive, leek and garlic blossoms, magnolia, pansies and Johnny Jump-Ups, calendula, anise hyssop, honeysuckle, Scarlet Runner Bean flowers, borage, Bee Balm, chamomile, Daylily, mint, squash blossoms, thyme, begonia, dandelion, lilac, tulips, hibiscus, and Sweet William. This is not the exhaustive list. In addition to using them to add color to a salad, these flowers can be used in baking for that little something extra, to make tea, as a beautiful garnish and in unique savory recipes as well. This week I'm sharing a fun appetizer using nasturtium flowers and goat cheese. If you're like me, and not a fan of goat cheese, you can use a mixture of ricotta, shredded parmesan and Monterey Jack or cheddar as a substitute (be sure to squeeze out any moisture from the ricotta and finely shred any other cheese, mixing all of the cheese together). I'm also sharing two recipe links with plenty of ideas to spark your interest and imagination. There's also a great book called Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy that might be interesting to you. I've just purchased it to help me develop my edible landscape. You know how I love my cookbooks and there are recipes in there too! Other than beauty and elevated culinary style, why else should you eat these flowers? Well, their color will tell you that they are loaded with antioxidants. They also contain lots of healthful phytochemicals, while some contain antimicrobial or anti-bacterial properties as well. Here is an additional article on the health benefits of edible flowers. A few quick ways to enjoy edibles flowers beyond adding them to salad; make tea, add them to your cucumber tea sandwiches (Nord EVOO bread slice slathered with cream cheese, slices of cucumber and edible flowers), add lavender or marigold petals into sweet shortbread cookies or chive blossoms to a savory shortbread cookie (perfect with white wine), have roses for breakfast with yogurt, strawberries and honey. And, enjoy this beautiful and easy appetizer with your favorite Summer drink ... Nasturtium Poppers recipe by Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen
2 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre)
2 dried tomatoes (not oil packed), very finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 edible fresh nasturtium blossoms or other edible blossoms
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Let cheese stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a small bowl stir together tomatoes, rosemary, lemon zest, and garlic. Shape cheese into twelve 3/4-inch balls; roll in tomato-herb mixture. Place on plate; cover and chill up to 24 hours. To serve, place each cheese ball in a nasturtium blossom. Drizzle cheese with a small amount of olive oil, avoiding the flower.
Check out these other amazing edible flower recipes by the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen as well as Martha Stewart. There are sweet and savory recipes in each. Enjoy!