Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Edible Flowers {Guest Article}

Edible Flowers are everywhere…
When we lived in Hawaii we got to eat lots of different types flowers.. They would put flowers in drinks, salads, and even deep fried (you would have thought being from the south I would have already had this one.).. You might be saying “Yuck” but they actual taste good, many different flavors as well… I have to say that my favorite is deep fried squash blossoms “Yummy”…  FYI, there is a drawback to eating the blossoms you get no squash from the plant, after removing the blossom..
Okay, let me get to the many flowers you might run across while out in the woods..
Clover is sweet, anise-like, licorice. Raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.
Dandelions, Flowers are sweetest when picked young. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. You can use them in salads or cooked.. (this is the easiest one to try.. everyone has them in their yard. If you put chemicals on your yard, go to a different location to pick these.)
Citrus blossoms,  Use highly scented waxy petals sparingly. Distilled orange flower water is characteristic of Middle Eastern pastries and beverages.
Sunflower,  The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavor is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes.
Honeysuckle, Sweet honey flavor. Only the flowers are edible. NOTE: Berries are highly poisonous - Do not eat them!
Yucca Petals The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (a hint of artichoke). in the spring, they can be used in salads and as a garnish.
Cactus Flowers are Edible The fruits of many cactus species are edible. The juicy, purplish-red fruit of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica), for example, is commonly found in grocery stores in Mexico and the southwestern United States. Few realize, however, that cactus flowers also make delicious meals and snacks. The flower buds of the barrel cactus (Ferocactus genus) were boiled and eaten in a similar manner to vegetables such as cabbage by the native inhabitants of Arizona, where these thorny plants proliferate. Barrel cactus flowers manifest in a multitude of festive colors including red, orange and yellow.
Cactus Flowers Used as Medicine
Prickly pear flowers
In addition to making wine, prickly pear cactus flowers have been employed for their purported therapeutic benefits. Author Margaret Joan Roberts, in her book "Edible & Medicinal Flowers," reveals that these warm-colored blooms are used in Mexico as a home remedy for relief from itchy insect bites and other stings and scratches. Prickly pear flowers are astringent. Like their associated fruits, they are also high in vitamin C.
Here in the south you can find Prickly Pear jelly, slices, etc…
As for cattails you can eat every bit of this plant.. The cattail is packed full of protein and other nutrients.. It is considered one of the most important wild foods you can eat… go get some and try them out…

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