10 Tips You Need to Know About
Cooking with Flowers
Anyone passionate about cooking knows that it’s fun to learn new recipes. Sometimes that means trying new ingredients. People don’t often think about flowers as an ingredient for foods and beverages, but they can be the missing flavor that pulls a recipe together.
Before attempting their first recipe, everyone should know a few basic things about cooking with flowers. Anyone can learn how to use them for more than just decor with a bit of guidance.
1. Read About Each Flower
Flowers are beautiful, but they aren’t all the same. Some contain toxins that might upset the digestive system or even send someone to the nearest hospital.
Before attempting to cook with flowers, every creative culinary artist must learn which are edible and which aren’t. Save a list for future recipes to quickly choose flowers that are safe to eat, such as:
It’s also essential to tell flowers apart by sight. Getting a hydrangea and a hibiscus flower mixed up could lead to an emergency room trip. Identify them with a visual guide or by trusted labels to ensure that each recipe is safe to enjoy.
2. Follow Specific Recipes
It’s also helpful to follow a recipe when cooking with flowers for the first time. Instead of sprinkling petals into a dish and hoping it’s enough, a recipe will ensure that the flavor turns out just right.
A recipe will also indicate if the cook should harvest the flowers from their garden or use store-bought products with the flower parts already harvested. The single step could delay a recipe or clarify if the ingredients in a pantry are the correct flowers.
3. Avoid Eating Stamens
Flower petals add the right aromas and flavors to plant-based recipes. It’s best to throw out or compost nearly every other part of the flower. Stamens are especially important to avoid since they contain pollen and could disrupt a recipe’s flavor. The pollen could also cause an allergic reaction in someone with spring allergies.
Before anyone tries a recipe that uses flowers, study the flower’s anatomy to identify each part better. It will be much easier to prepare each ingredient and follow recipes correctly.
4. Pick Your Sides
Floral flavors are often background notes in a meal. Primary ingredients and side dishes enhance those flavors by bringing everything together. Anyone hoping to cook with flowers should choose appropriate sides for their meals or desserts to better enjoy their creations.
For example, if someone were to cook with jasmine, it would create a sour flavor even though the aroma is lovely. However, if the chef can pair it with something sweet to balance the flavors, like sweet icing on jasmine cookies or sticky mango rice with stir-fried jasmine rice. The extra effort completes each dining experience by matching the floral flavors with supportive ingredients.
5. Seep in Teas
Tea is an excellent way to start cooking with flowers. After selecting complementary flower types, a tea bag or small strainer will hold the petals in hot water without letting them float around loosely.
The flowers only need to seep for a few minutes to create a mug of tea with the right strength for each person’s preference. Sip on floral tea alongside a healing crystal collection to start or finish each day in a positive headspace.
6. Create Simple Syrups
Simple syrups are great to keep around the house. They sweeten cocktails and mocktails, plus cold drinks like iced tea. There’s no need to dissolve granular sweetener in individual hot beverages when refrigerated, floral syrup waits in the fridge.
There’s also a variety of simple syrups to match various seasons, moods and beverages. Anyone could gather butterfly pea flowers and boil them with water and sugar before storing the concoction in their fridge. Add each person’s preference to bring their beverages to the right sweetness level whenever anyone needs a refreshing drink.
7. Experiment with Toppings
Beginners could also use flower petals to make various toppings. Rose petal marinades make chicken breasts and steak extra flavorful, but they could also transform into delicious jams for biscuit breakfasts or summer sandwiches. It depends on which flower petals are on hand and what each culinary adventurer wants to try.
8. Be Wary About Allergies
While flowers can be an excellent addition to anyone’s kitchen, it doesn’t mean everyone will enjoy eating them. Cooking with flowers could trigger allergic reactions in a few ways.
First, separating the flower parts in the same space used for cooking could spread pollen to other ingredients. People allergic to composite-type flowers could also not be able to eat food with daisies, chrysanthemums or marigolds due to the flower type.
Consider who will eat or drink each recipe and ask if they have any allergies before preparing the new creations. This simple step ensures everyone can enjoy the food or beverages safely.
9. Remember the Leaves
Some flowers have leaves that are good for culinary purposes and others don’t. Researching the flower type before using it in a recipe will clarify if the leaves are better off in the trash.
For example, someone could create a summer salad with nasturtium leaves and top them with the same flower’s petals. The result would be a sweet, spicy bed of greens ready for anyone’s favorite salad toppings.
Leaves can also decorate plated meals if someone wants to make their food look Instagram-worthy. Placing a few along the edge of glazed salmon or on top of a sirloin steak will create a tasteful picture or place setting.
10. Avoid Overdoing Flower Petals
Petals are typically small, so it’s easy to assume that a recipe needs more than it indicates. Although culinary artists always have the final say in their creations, it’s best to follow a recipe to avoid an overpowering floral flavor. Some petals have more robust flavors than others, so sticking with a recipe could save the resulting culinary experience or a person’s digestive system.
Try Cooking with Flowers
People don’t need a degree in the culinary arts to learn about cooking with flowers. Experimenting at home can be fun with some help from a recipe. Following each step and measurement carefully will result in new creations that dazzle the tastebuds.
About the Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.