Among the different fashionable foods that we can find for this year 2018, edible flowers are, without a doubt, one of them. In addition to providing a most elegant and striking appearance to dishes, flowers have a high content of nutrients that are very beneficial for both physical and mental health of the body .
The truth is that flowers have been used for centuries in the kitchen of many societies and civilizations around the world. Their contribution is not limited only to the flavor and aroma they provide to the dishes, but to their appreciated nutritional properties.
The edible flowers are rich in vitamins and minerals, proteins and amino acids . In addition, certain flowers improve the function of the digestive system , thus improving intestinal transit and avoiding diseases such as constipation . A large number of edible flowers have antioxidant properties, preventing premature aging of both skin and cells. In addition, these types of flowers contain phytonutrients and flanonoids; two key nutrients to reduce the risk of some diseases.
Are all the flowers edible?
This is a question that many people ask about flowers. Well, the truth is that no; You cannot add to the plate any flower that one finds walking in the field . And, in the same way that it happens with mushrooms, there are toxic flowers that can lead to intoxication.
When consuming flowers, it is important to note that it is precisely the different parts of the flower that contain the least chemical compounds, so that it is the most appropriate for consumption. Meanwhile, seeds tend to harbor a large number of chemical components , many of which can be toxic. Thus, there are certain edible flowers whose consumption is fully recommended, but whose seeds are not suitable for consumption.
Properties of edible flowers
One of the main benefits of edible flowers in relation to the general health of the body is its high content of flavonoids. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
In addition, the flowers are very low in calories since 80% of their composition is water and 10% protein. They are very rich in vitamins; from group A to take care of eye health, from group B to transform everything that is consumed into energy, and from group C to strengthen the immune system . In addition, these types of flowers are rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium .
Types of edible flowers
If you want to prepare a dish with edible flowers as its star ingredient, below we will indicate which are the most suitable, as well as their characteristics and health benefits.
Violets are the best known edible flowers globally for many reasons. On the one hand, because they are very beautiful, so they “dress” any dish. On the other hand, its flavor is very smooth and pleasant. And finally, they admit a large selection of ways of preparation: fresh, candied, dry …
In relation to the properties and benefits of violets for health, they are rich in antioxidants and vitamins important for the proper functioning of the body. Thus, violets prevent premature aging of cells and skin, while strengthening the immune system.
Calabza flowers have a very characteristic flavor; delicate and smooth. They are one of the most common in the gastronomy of the XXI century since they can be included in all kinds of dishes: meats, rice, stews, salads …
These flowers are very rich in vitamin A, as well as in folic acid and fiber . Essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the body; fiber is key to improving intestinal transit.
Sunflower petals are very colorful, so they are a great option to color any dish. As for its flavor, it is halfway between sweet and sour.
Sunflower petals provide very interesting properties for health. A study carried out in Japan showed that these petals have anti-inflammatory properties , so that they are of great help to alleviate the symptoms of diseases such as osteoarthritis . In addition, it is known that the Mayans used sunflower petals to prepare a natural aphrodisiac.
Flower of the dead
Although its name causes a bit of qualms, the truth is that the flower of the dead, or cempaxúchitl, is one of the most beneficial for the general health of the body.
The Aztecs made good use of it with medicinal properties: relieve colic, improve the digestive process, treat liver diseases …
Another of the most popular types of edible flowers in today’s gastronomy. They have a very sweet taste, similar to honey. Regarding its nutrients, dandelion flowers are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C , vitamin E, vitamin K , potassium, zinc, calcium, and iron.
It is important that the consumption of this type of flowers is in moderation. And is that excessive consumption of them can lead to adverse reactions related to the digestive system, such as heartburn and diarrhea.
Nasturtium flowers are currently one of the most widely used to decorate different dishes, such as ensañadas. From the nasturtium the leaves are consumed, which have a very intense flavor, similar to that of watercress; also the flowers, with their reddish and orange colors.
It is important to be careful with the seeds since, depending on their state of formation, they can become toxic. This is because they contain a small amount of glucosinolates and trierucine; toxic compounds that can lead to poisoning that requires urgent medical assistance.
Roses are considered in many cases as the queens of flowers, generally due to their great beauty and their characteristic aroma and flavor. In relation to its nutrients and properties for the body, roses contain vitamins A, B3, C and E; They are also rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants . Thus, roses help to take care of the cardiovascular system, thus minimizing the risk of suffering certain diseases such as myocardial infarction .
Best edible flowers to accompany each dish
One of the big questions when it comes to introducing edible flowers in dishes is which flowers are best suited to accompany them.
Well, in the case of salads , basil flowers or magnolia petals are a great option; they have a very mild flavor that helps to somehow enhance the flavor of the salad itself.
As for meat and fish , rosemary and dill flowers are the best option. A fantastic accompaniment to these types of dishes.
Edible flowers can also be served as a garnish . Pumpkin blossoms are a great option; they have a slightly sweet taste and their texture is very smooth. Also the sunflower petals, with a bitter taste that disappears if they are served cooked.
And finally, to accompany desserts with edible flowers, poppy and orange blossom are fantastic.
Tips for consuming edible flowers
Finally, we point out a series of tips that are worth taking into account when consuming this type of food.
- It is important to always select flowers that have been grown for human consumption . It is the best way to ensure that they are free of any type of product and / or chemical compound that may be harmful in any way.
- If you suffer from any type of allergy , it is best to gradually introduce the consumption of flowers to see what the reaction is.
- In no case should inedible flowers be used, not even as decoration.
- To keep edible flowers fresh, they should be placed on moistened paper towels in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- To take advantage of all the nutrients in edible flowers, the best way to consume them is raw .
Edible flowers have become one of the star ingredients in gastronomy in many areas of the world. They are commonly used as a garnish or accompaniment ; flowers as a single dish is not a very followed trend at the moment.
The use of flowers in the kitchen increases the gastronomic value of the different recipes ; and it is that they provide a touch of distinction and color to the dishes, as well as a large selection of nutrients that are very beneficial for the general health of the body.
As we have pointed out, the most important thing to avoid any type of problem related to food poisoning is to consume only those flowers that have been grown for human consumption . And, of course, make sure that the flowers to be consumed are not toxic.
Taking these basic precautions into account, edible flowers are a fabulous option to enjoy a wider gastronomy, typical of the 21st century.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.