We are back with Part 2! I started off with all these flowers in the same post, but it is really a lot of ideas and inspiration. I like my inspiration to be spread out a bit so I’m not drowning in Pinterest boards. This week we have a few less common flowers for our recipes. While you might not have thought of these in this light you’ll find that they are everywhere if you look close enough.
As I mentioned before, and will happily mention again, know your source when picking flowers for consumption. Clover grows by the road side (a terrible place to harvest from), common elder grows wild in some parks in America (another iffy location), and roses! Don’t get me started on all the things that happen to roses before they even get to a big box store. I don’t say these things to turn you off from all the ways I’m about to tell you to use them, but to make sure that your experience is the best possible.
This is another sweet bloom that has so many benefits. Also called bee bread this pollinator attractor can be sown in a sunny location as a ground cover. It is a favorite in permaculture because of its nitrogen fixing qualities which means it pulls the nitrogen from deep down in the dirt into its foliage. Then when it is mowed down that foliage can be left to break down leaving the nitrogen at the top of the soil for next year’s plantings.
There are so many ways this flower can be enjoyed. Starting with the honey suckle style of picking the individual florets and sucking the nectar out of the end or adding them to green salads to spice things up. Some people even make clover wine. (I might try it one day.) This one isn’t in the book I reference throughout this series, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, like honey suckle, one could even make a jelly out of clover blossoms if the desire was strong enough.
Red Clover’s long roots also provide some medicinal benefits. A strong tea made of the aerial portions of the plant can aid in soothing many lung conditions. It is also high in nutrients and said to help cleanse the blood.
You are familiar with its fruit, elderberry. Elderberry is a lovely, tall bush that produces many flowering heads that eventually turn to berry clusters. For as many berry clusters as one bush may produces we can afford to cut a few while they are still in flower and use those blooms for some fun. This is a European native, but there are American varieties that do well throughout most of the United States. Elder like sun and is easily spread by birds, but it won’t take over your garden.
Recipes for this musky flower can be simple like elderflower and peppermint tea. Or if you are experienced it can be more creative like Strawberry Elderflower Jam.
This recipe is for refrigerator jam, not canning jam.
8 Elderflower heads
Cut the elderflowers off the main stem and tie the florets in a muslin bag.
Hull the strawberries and then mash with the lemon juice. Put in a preserving pan with the elderflowers.
Simmer until the fruit is soft, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Add the sugar, stirring until it is all dissolved. Boil rabidly until setting point is reached. To test for setting pour a small spoonful in a saucer and leave to cool. If a wrinkle forms on the top when pushed with a finger the jam will set.
With a slotted spoon remove the elderflowers and any foam that has formed. Leave to cool. Stir and pour in sterilized jars. Cover and label. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and consume within a week.
Note: I am not a canner (yet) but I am certain that if you already had a strawberry jam recipe for canning, the elderflowers could be easily added with the method above, in order to enjoy and preserve the flavor for longer.
Roses. I cannot say anything about them that has not already been said. They are well known for a reason. This flower is multifaceted in the settings it fits into, from wild to highly manicured it is like a well-rounded woman who can make herself comfortable anywhere. I am getting carried away here.
This flower also has many versatile abilities in the food realm besides its fantastic beauty. Rose butter, rose jelly, rose honey, crystalized roses, if you can imagine it rose can handle it. For the last recipe in this series I want to try something different: Rose Sorbet.
This recipe is great because it does not require an ice cream maker, but it does use some wine.
4oz. Castor Sugar
1 ¼ c. Boiling Water
Petals of 3 large, scented red or deep pink roses, white ends of petals removed
Juice of 2 lemons
1 ¼ c. Rosé
In a large mixing bowl add sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar hs completely dissolved. Add the rose petals and leave to cool completely.
Blend the mixture in a food processor then strain through a sieve. Add the lemon juice and wine and pour into a freezer container. Freeze for several hours until the mixture has frozen around the edges.
Turn the sorbet into a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Refreeze until frozen around the edges. Repeat the whisking and freezing process once or twice more, until the sorbet is pale and smooth. Freeze until firm.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is easily made as far ahead of time as you please. I think it’s a great way to preserve a bit of summer to enjoy later in the year.
Its only March and I am already overwhelmed with excitement about this summer and all the fun things I will get to do this summer. Using edible flowers is the first thing on my list! Especially the sorbet and floral butters. Anything that has to do with preserving things to be enjoyed later in the year is a favorite in my book. As I said before, all these recipes come from the book The Edible Flower Garden by Kathy Brown. It is a worthwhile investment if you want to get the absolute most out of your garden this year.
Source: Brown, Kathy “The Edible Flower Garden” Ed. Lindsay Porter. Wigston, Leicestershine. Anness Publishing Ltd. 2011. Print,