Cooking with edible flowers can seem difficult. In addition to growing them (or finding a reliable, not-too-expensive purveyor), there's also knowing which blossoms can be used, and how. But the effort involved is so rewarding. "A cake is a cake is a cake until you put roses on it—then it's a work of art," says Jules Dervaes, owner of Urban Homestead in Pasadena, Calif., whose attempt at edible landscaping 15 years ago turned into a thriving business that supplies edible flowers to local restaurants and caterers. These easy, eye-catching recipes will inspire you to start scattering petals and artfully arranging blooms in your dishes all summer long.
Tending Your Edible Garden
Like any crop, edible flowers have to be cared for to keep them unblemished and pest-free. Jules Dervaes shares his growing tips.
1. Avoid getting blooms wet.
Water can cause wilting and spotting when it comes in direct contact with the petals. Water a plant at its base, or keep delicate flowers, such as pansies and primroses, in self-watering containers.
2. Spritz to clean.
"You should not get edible flowers too wet or spin them dry in a salad spinner, so we use a spray bottle to remove dirt," Dervaes explains.
3. Stay ahead of pests.
"When you garden organically, the possibility of pests is part of the process," says Dervaes. His tools for pest reduction? A spray bottle of water or a cotton swab to knock aphids off plants, or organic sprays, such as hot pepper wax. If plants become overrun, it's better to take them out and start over than have the bugs infest the entire garden.
Flowers for Foodies
Want to grow your own edible flowers this summer? Visit vegetariantimes.com/edibleflowers for a list of easy-to-grow blooms and creative cooking ideas.