Have You Ever Tried Hibiscus Flower Or Other Edible Blooms?

by Mishka Thomas
(Cumberland City, TN, USA)

Flowers are lovely, especially when used for decoration. Think of how an exquisite floral arrangement can easily brighten up a room – it can cheer up any person. But did you know that flowers can also be served for your gastronomic pleasure? Edible flowers are now widely associated with haute cuisine and wedding cakes, and the good news is that some may be found in your very own backyard. Adding blossoms to your meals not only makes them flavorful, but also nutritious. There are even flowers that you can use to make delicious beverages like hibiscus tea.

It’s a tradition for many cultures to add fresh flowers to their culinary creations. For examples, Romans used violets, Asian Indians used rose petals, and many oriental dishes contained daylily buds. Meanwhile, Hispanic and Italian cultures used stuffed squash blossoms.

The Benefits of Eating Flowers

Flowers are good for you because they are natural plant foods, and like many other plant foods, they contain a good amount of nutrients that will help improve your health. For example, rose petals contain antioxidants and bioflavonoids, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E. Other examples of nutrient-rich edible flowers include:
• Dandelion – It has many antioxidant properties and flavonoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin. It also has four times more beta carotene than broccoli. It also contains a good amount of vitamins E, C, as well as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and pyroxidine.
• Lavender – It is believed to give benefits to your central nervous system, and contains a good amount of calcium, iron, and vitamin A.
• Violet – It contains a phytochemical called rutin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are essential to strengthening your capillary walls.
• Chive blossom – This is the purple flower of the chive herb. It contains iron, sulfur, and vitamin C. In many cultures, it has been used to help support healthy blood pressure levels.
• Nasturtium – It has cancer-fighting lycopene, as well as lutein, a carotenoid that helps support vision health.

Hibiscus: Another Flower You Should Definitely Try

The hibiscus flower is another example of a bloom that has numerous uses. It comes from the hibiscus plant, a shrubby tropical plant that grows in tropical regions and produces large flowers with reddish-purple centers. After the flower’s petals fall off, the deep red calyces, a cup-like structures formed by the sepals, remain and grow into seed-containing pods that appear like flower buds.

Unlike other flowers, the hibiscus flower is not used for cooking, but is instead used for making hibiscus tea, a very famous beverage loved by ancient Egyptians. This soothing drink has a unique and delicious taste that can be likened to cranberry juice. Hibiscus tea benefits are well known in many places today. In Sudan and Egypt, it is even used as a drink for special occasions, such as in the ceremonial toast for wedding ceremonies.

Hibiscus tea is one delicious drink you should try. If you have a hibiscus plant growing in your garden, you can easily pick a few flowers, and make a tea out of it. Just remember, though, that the hibiscus plant is not treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Remember: Not All Flowers Are Edible
It might seem wonderful to sprinkle a bunch of fresh flowers into your salad or casserole, but before you do this, there are some important guidelines to be aware of. For one, before using any type of flower, make sure that it is edible.

One general rule you must remember is that any flower that comes from a garden center, nursery, or florist are not edible, as these are most likely treated with chemicals and pesticides. This rule also applies to flowers that you find in road sides or gardens that have been sprayed with pesticides. As much as possible, only consume pesticide or herbicide-free, organically-grown flowers that you have grown yourself.

Another thing you must be aware of: some flowers, even if organically-grown, can make you sick. Some examples of poisonous flowers you should beware of are daffodils, daphne, foxglove, and hyacinths. For whatever reason, do not add these blooms to your dishes.

Flowers are a wonderful addition to your dishes, but make sure you remember these guidelines before you start adding these blooms to your food. If not, your gastronomic delight could turn into a culinary disaster. Use flowers wisely!

About the Author
Mishka Thomas is a lifestyle blogger. When not busy writing, she tends to her organic flower garden, which she has started from scratch. One of her favorite blooms is the hibiscus flower, which she uses to make the delicious organic hibiscus tea she serves to her family and friends. She plans to create an organic cookbook that will feature recipes that uses organic flowers.

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