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York Florist Promotes Edible Flowers As Easter Alternative


1:22pm 29th March 2013

A York florist is championing edible flowers this Easter as a healthy alternative to chocolate. Fried, sautéed or baked inside a cake, edible flowers are moving from the centre of the dinner table to the middle of the plate as more people use these colourful treats as cooking ingredients, according to wardstheflorist.co.uk.

David Ward, managing partner at wardstheflorist.co.uk, which is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year and has a retail outlet on Clifford Street, said: “Flowers look beautiful but they also come in a variety of flavours, from sweet dandelions to citrusy marigolds; many are easy to grow and are a low calorie option.

“We’re not suggesting you ditch the chocolate completely this Easter but why not try edible flowers too – children in particular like the idea of growing and eating flowers.

“Calendula, hollyhock, begonia, daisies, marigolds, violets, pansies, nasturtiums, hibiscus, honeysuckles, jasmine, chrysanthemums, roses, gladiolus and geraniums don't just look lovely in gardens, pots and planters, their petals look perfect atop a salad, mixed into a stir fry, simmered in a tea, served as garnishes on a dinner plate or placed as decorations on a wedding cake. They add colour, taste and a wonderful fragrance, making any dish or drink more memorable.

“Many top class restaurants incorporate edible flowers into dishes and drinks – and it’s just as easy for you to do the same at home – but make sure you know that the flowers are edible, find out where the flowers come from and that pesticides have not been used.”

  • Calendula --- Sometimes called pot marigold or "poor man's saffron," the petals can be chopped and cooked in oil to enhance the flavour. Sauté chopped onions in olive oil, add chopped calendula petals, rice and boiling water. The finished dish resembles Spanish paella. You can also sprinkle petals on the cream cheese icing on a carrot cake for more flavour. Some people say the flavour is honey-like.
  • Dandelion --- Young flowers are edible, and can be coated in an egg-and-cornmeal batter and fried in butter. The flavour is not unlike mushrooms. It makes a potent wine, too. Caution: Don't eat dandelions that have been treated with weed killer or pluck them from lawns where other chemicals are used.
  • "Lemon Gem" and "Tangerine Gem" (Tagetes tenuifolia) marigolds --- These are the only edible marigolds with a citrusy-tarragon flavour. When pulling petals from the flower, break off the right-angled portion; it is bitter. Marigolds add spice to something as common as devilled eggs.
  • Nasturtiums --- A slight sweetness followed by peppery tang. Use them to liven up a mixed green salad or make a flavoured vinegar by adding flowers to a good-quality white-wine vinegar. Let the mixture sit in the dark for several weeks; strain out the flowers and pour the vinegar into a clean glass bottle with a stopper. Use it to make an oil-and-vinegar salad dressing. You can also steep vodka in nasturtiums for martinis. Flowers are orange, red, orange and cream.
  • Pansy --- Unlike most edible flowers, you can eat both the petals and sepals. Blue-flowered pansies sometimes have a delicate fragrance. Pansies can be candied and used to decorate cakes, for example, or spread cream cheese on a cracker and top with a pansy.
  • Squash blossoms --- All squash blossoms are edible and can be stuffed with breadcrumbs or ricotta cheese and sautéed or fried.
  • Viola  --- Use them as decoration for desserts, cakes, cupcakes, or you can candy the flowers for sweetness.
  • Sweet violets --- European varieties are sweet and can be candied for decorations.

For more information call 01904 649000 or visit www.wardstheflorist.co.uk

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