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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Edible Flowers-Part one

The first time I remember appreciating a flower as a child was when I ate one. I was very blessed to live near my grandparents as a child. They had the most beautiful flower garden, but I didn’t appreciate it like I should. One evening after my Dad quit working on the farm we visited them. We lived in the high desert and evenings in Southeast Idaho are the best time of the day. As evening approached, the temperature would cool off as the sun went down and because of all the dust kicked up from the wind and farming, the sunsets are very vivid. I remember sitting in the warm grass watching cars drive by and my Grandma told me she wanted to show me something. She took me over to a Honeysuckle plant and plucked one of the flowers. She told me to bring the closed end of the flower to my lip and suck. I sweet flowery nectar washed over my tongue. It wasn’t very strong but you could taste the nectar. It must have been a revelation to me because I looked around and noticed all of the flowers wondering which other ones I could taste. The garden seemed much more beautiful. I guess that shows how much I like food.

This is a good time of the year to start planning what to plant in your yard. Some of you might think about some of the flowers you want to plant, and then have a separate line of thought for the edible plants that you will grow in your garden. With the busy modern lives that we live why not do both at the same time? Plant some flowers that are both ornamental and edible. I am starting a series of posts that will feature a variety of edible plants so you have some ideas of things to plant……and eat.

Our first contestant is the Honeysuckle plant. The honeysuckle plant can be found in a variety of different shapes and sizes. They grow as both a vine or a shrub and some are deciduous and some are evergreen. Honeysuckle usually likes full sun and they need a good amount of moisture.

The flowers of a honeysuckle plant are trumpet shaped and edible. The flower has a sweet honey flavor that can add a sweet hint to ice cream, sorbets, teas, and salads. It is used as an ingredient in herbal cough medicines as well.

Honeysuckle does have a dark side. It can be an intrusive plant and strangle other plants of proper care is not taken. The berries of a honeysuckle plant are also poisonous so make sure to stay away from them.

When dealing with edible flowers it is important to note that many flowers are poisonous. Make sure that you know what you are eating. The pollen of many flowers can cause reactions with people with asthma or hayfever. Make sure that the flowers you eat are not sprayed with pesticides. Don't eat plants that Know what you are eating and try them in small amounts as your digestive system might not like them (just like any other food).

It’s best to pick your flowers in the morning when there moisture content is high. Wash them gently in a salt water bath and then drop them in ice water for a minute. Use the flowers immediately.

What edible flowers do you enjoy?

Images were found on Wikipedia.

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