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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Flowers are loaded with goodness, and you need to believe it when we say that. Besides, contributing to the surroundings with their striking colors, sensuous scents, and glorious looks, flowers have much more to offer. As we all know, flowers are known for possessing medicinal value since time immemorial. However, nowadays, flowers are considered to be edible, are an active part of many regional cuisines and often used to spice up the culinary quotient of numerous delicacies. Here are five types edible flowers that can make exotic food ingredients!

Orchids

This highly ornamental and exotic flower, which you thought can only adorn that crystal vase in your living room, can be useful too – in your kitchen. However, it is very important to do a proper research on the edible orchids before the flower goes into the making of your savored recipe.

Besides Vanilla, which is the most recognized orchid, the purple and white Karma Orchids are the ones widely used in decorating and garnishing desserts, beverages, salads, appetizers, cakes, and platters. Besides giving a fresh look, Orchids give the much-needed crunch and add an appealing texture to the delicacies. As suggested by most chefs or food experts, Orchids can be stored by encasing them in gelatin, candying them in sugar syrup, which later can be used for cakes and dessert decorations. Besides, they can be eaten as stir-fry flowers or fritters by dipping them into tempura batter and frying them.

The taste of orchids can be anywhere between sweet and bitter, depending upon the type of the flower, which may not suit everybody’s taste-buds. However, if nutritional value is anything to go by, these delicate flowers are a rich source of fiber and Vitamin C, which helps in digestion and boosts your immunity.

Hibiscus

The large blooms of Hibiscus flowers have a taste similar to that of cranberries – tangy and sweet. Hibiscus is consumed in various forms across the globe. They are eaten raw, cooked, frozen as ice cubes, pickled, used as spice and food dye or boiled to make infusions for hot or chilled drinks.

In China, Hibiscus is baked with cakes or cookies to give an exotic look, while in India, the petals of the flower are boiled with sugar to make herbal tea, which has its share of health benefits like controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels and boosting immunity. It also quickens the metabolism, which can help with weight-loss. However, it is advisable to take it in lower quantities or it may have adverse effects on health. The flower can also be dried and stored for later use in making jams, pickles, cakes, bread and muffins.

Marigold

Did you know that one of the most commonly spotted flowers, Marigold can up the style and taste quotient of your recipes? Marigold flowers have a subtle peppery, bitter taste that goes well with greens like lettuce, rocket leaves or green or purple cabbage. If you adapt to the taste well, these flowers are not only easy-to-find, but also can be grown in your backyard without putting in much effort. Wash, dry and pluck few petals off the flowers, sprinkle few on the salad with the greens and purples and experience a burst of color and taste on your plate.

Often referred to as the ‘poor man’s saffron’ the dried strands or petals of Marigold can be easily stored and sprinkled on your recipes, as and when required. The dried petal strands do give out saffron-like flavor when sautéed in olive oil and can add some zing to the otherwise bland devil eggs. Another variety of marigolds, Calendula too is a wonderful edible flower. Besides being a great remedy for your skin infection, Calendula can work wonders as a delicacy. Unlike its counterpart, it gives out a variety of tastes which range from tangy to peppery and spicy to bitter.

Gulkand, gulaab ki kheer, gulaab barfi, chilled rose soup or rose popsicles – the name ‘rose’ or ‘gulaab’ is enough to tickle your taste-buds and make your mouth salivate! It is a known fact that Rose has been one of the active ingredients and has found its way to the royal kitchens since olden days. All the recipes that were made for the royal kings and queens were garnished with Rose petals to give it a ‘shaahi’ or royal look and flavor. In ancient Rome, Rose was a sign of victory and was added to the food items prepared to celebrate the victory.

In today’s era, Rose is a common ingredient found in many households as well as chef’s kitchen. Rose petals and Rosewater are widely used in Indian as well as Middle Eastern cuisine. Rose is believed to have a cooling effect and can be eaten to beat the heat or escape the severity of sunstroke.

Although bitter in taste, let your eyes feast on the bright pink Rose petals while they give out their signature fragrance in the recipes for which they are used. The rosy scent invigorates your senses, and hence makes Rose one of the ‘feel good’ edible flowers.

Sunflower

Imagine a vibrant yellow Sunflower encased in a gelatin-laden cake, presented to you on your special day! The cake makes a pretty sight, perfect for a celebration.  If you are still wondering if sunflowers are edible then we would say, yes they are. Their seeds have been used to the optimum to extract and make cooking oil. But lately, petals too, have become favorite among the chefs and food stylists for making innovative recipes.

All parts of sunflower, from roots to flowers are edible and are widely used in various cuisines. The buds of the flower, sans the green part, taste like artichokes and can be served with butter after boiling. As long as petals are concerned, the outer edge has a very distinct taste, slightly bitter too. You can combine it with your favorite taste of ingredient and use it in salads, drinks or desserts to enjoy the exotic flavors given out by Sunflower.

Although these flowers look attractive and tempting to use it in your kitchen, it is very important to carefully pick and choose the flower before it is served on your plate:

  • Pick or buy flowers that are grown organically, without any pesticides.
  • Shake the flowers to remove extra dirt or insects present in the flower
  • Wash them carefully in cold water and air dry or towel dry before using as food ingredients.
  • If you wish to store them for a longer time, make sure the petals are dried properly or there are chances of rotting.

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