Lavender Honey Ice Cream

 

Lavender honey ice cream
Lavender honey ice cream

In experimenting with edible flowers, I came across a great recipe which I have tried several times and disappeared quickly in my household. It is really delicious and the best ice cream I have ever had! Lavender is an unlikely candidate for flavoring ice cream but it works. Go to Edible Flower Palette  and Eat Your Flowers!  to see more uses for edible flowers.

Fresh cut Phenomenal lavender

Lavender has just gotten easier to grow with the new variety, Phenomenal. Go to Lavender Fields Forever-Phenomenal!  to see how to grow this wonderfully fragrant herb. I used the honey from my hives for this, but you can use any mild flavored honey in this recipe, like clover or wildflower.

Lavender ice cream tops peach cake
Lavender ice cream tops peach cake

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

2 Cups Heavy Cream

1 Cup half and half

2/3 cup honey

2 Tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers

2 large eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

Bring cream, half and half, honey and lavender just to a boil in a 2 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Then remove pan from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot, not boiling.

Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly. When mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and registers 170 to 175 degrees on a thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil), take off heat.

Pour custard into clean bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered at least 3 hours.

Freeze in a ice cream maker and keep in freezer for several hours to harden.

Serve on top on peach cake for a great summer treat. Enjoy!

Lavender honey ice cream
Lavender honey ice cream

Eat Your Flowers!

Edible flowers garnish a green salad
Edible flowers garnish a green salad-Calendula, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Borage

 Edible flowers make everything beautiful to eat. Used in appetizers, salads, entrees, drinks, and desserts, they make food fun to eat. Eye and sensory appeal for food is everything. If the dish is beautiful, colorful, and interesting, people will dive right in. Go to my post Edible Flower Palette for more ideas on uses and suitable flower varieties.

Edible palette of flowers
Edible palette of flowers

There are lots of books on edible flowers, their uses, and recipes, but the most useful one that I have found is Eat Your Roses by Denise Schreiber. 

The book is chock full of luscious recipes and I appreciated that it was printed in a spiral bound hard cover book that was easy to flip through in the kitchen. The pages were glossy thick paper that would be easy to wipe off splatters. No propping a cookbook up and having the pages flip closed while you are cooking!

More Than Just A Pretty Face

I learned in the book that not only are edible flowers attractive but many are chock full of vitamins and other good things.  Lutein, which is used for vitamin formulations for eyesight, is found in Marigolds.

Lutein is found in Marigolds
Lutein is found in Marigolds

Recipes like Nasturtium Bundles-beautifully scalloped nasturtium leaves rolled around a mixture of goats cheese, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and tied up with chive stems, made me want to get into the kitchen and start working. I think I will try them for an upcoming party as a showpiece appetizer.  And Lemon Verbena Salmon is definitely on my list to try as I have a bumper crop of that pungent citrusy herb growing in my garden.

I tried the Oven Roasted Italian Green Beans with Onion Flowers and was wowed by eating this recipe of green beans after I had grown tired of my harvest of plain steamed green beans. I couldn’t face another green bean after eating them plain for weeks, but when I made this dish, it changed the whole taste and look of green beans. Here is the recipe From Denise’s book:

 the cookie sheet with green beans, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and cheese
Loading the cookie sheet with green beans, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and cheese

Oven Roasted Italian Green Beans with Onion Flowers from “Eat Your Roses” by Denise Schreiber

1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

2 Cups Water

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon onion flowers, fresh or dried

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook the beans for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter and oil together and add garlic. Add pine nuts, breadcrumbs and cheese. Toss with the cooked beans, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the beans are a bit crispy but done.

Serves 2 – 3

Variation with Basil Flowers

Onion and Cardinal Basil Flowers
Onion and Cardinal Basil Flowers

I added some chopped up flowers from my Cardinal Basil for extra color and zest. See my post on Cardinal Basil-Striking Beauty to read about this great spicy basil. It is a wonderful cut flower as well as a great ingredient for cooking.

Oven Roasted Green Beans with Onion Flowers and Cardinal Basil Flowers
Oven Roasted Green Beans with Onion Flowers and Cardinal Basil Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edible Flower Palette

Edible flowers are frequently for sale at farmer’s markets but most people are hesitant to take the plunge and actually use them in cooking.

Variety of edible flowers from the garden

Garnishes – yes, but actually eating flowers??? For most people that is a different story. But flowers can add a lot to the flavor as well as  appeal of a dish.  Go to Squash Blossom Latkes  to see what you can do with squash blossoms. Also, go to African Blue Basil to check out this great flower that makes a wonderful pesto. All basil flowers are edible.

African Blue Basil makes a great pesto
African Blue Basil makes a great pesto

 Edible flowers definitely add taste and flavor to a dish.  Bean blossoms actually have a beany flavor.  Nasturtiums, one of my favorites, have a peppery flavor similar to watercress, and their pickled buds can be substituted for more expensive capers. True blue borage tastes like cucumber, and  pansies have a lettuce like taste. For a crisp butter crunch lettuce taste, try daylilies. Maybe that is why deer like daylilies so much.

Collecting edible blossoms from the garden
Collecting edible blossoms from the garden

 

Top 20 Edible Flowers

Edible Flower chart from sugarandcharm.com
Edible Flower chart from sugarandcharm.com

 ( list obtained from http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/top-20-edible-flowers-from-garden-to-kitchen/)

  • Nasturtium

  • Angelica

  • Anise Hyssop

  • Bachelor’s Button *

  • Bee Balm

  • Calendula/Marigold

  • Carnations

  • Chamomile *

  • Chervil

  • Pansy

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Clover

  • Dandelion * {eating ‘em puts a whole new spin on ‘weeding’}

  • Fuchsia

  • Gladiolus *

  • Hibiscus

  • Impatiens

  • Jasmine

  • Lavender

  • Lilac

“Only the petals of these composite flowers are edible. The pollen of composite flowers is highly allergenic and may cause reactions in sensitive individuals. Sufferers of asthma, ragweed, and hayfever should not consume composite flowers, and may have extreme allergies to ingesting any flowers at all.” ~ Source HomeCooking/About.com

 

Edible blossoms-borage, nasturtium and chives, pansy, gladiolus, cardinal basil, daylily, pansy
Edible blossoms-borage, nasturtium and chives, pansy, gladiolus, cardinal basil, daylily, pansy

 

Uses

Beautiful cake decorated with roses and borage blossoms, made by Maria Springer of http://www.majaskitchen.com/
Beautiful cake decorated with roses and borage blossoms, made by Maria Springer of http://www.majaskitchen.com/

Edible flowers as a garnish make any dish look special on your table, but be sure the flavor of the flower compliments the dish. Here are a few ideas to beautify your recipes and perk up your taste buds:

  • Place a colorful gladiolus or hibiscus flower (remove the stamen and pistil) in a clear glass bowl and fill with your favorite dip.

  • Sprinkle edible flowers in your green  and fruit salads for a splash of color and taste.

  • Make edible flower ice cubes. Go to http://diana212m.blogspot.com/2013/02/jazzy-take-on-water.html

    Ice cubes with edible flowers

  • Use in flavored oils or vinegars, like chive blossoms in vinegar which gives it a pretty pink  blush color.

  • You can use them in salads, teas, garnishes, ice creams, etc. Lavender ice cream anyone?? It is delicious!

     

     

    The ultimate edible flower-lavender
    The ultimate edible flower-lavender

 Never use non-edible flowers in your food as guests will think that they can eat it. Poisonous flowers abound in your garden and be careful what you use!

When you pick your blossoms, keep them fresh by rolling up in a moist paper towel and keep in the refrigerator no more than a few days before using.

Be creative!

Roll the blossoms in a moist paper towel and store in the refrigerator

Eat Your Flowers!

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.

Beautiful Garden Plants That are Edible Too

Climbing Rose
Climbing Rose

We all love to make our yards beautiful but it is nice when we can make them functional too. While starting your own mini farm is not on many gardeners’ lists, you may be surprised by what plants you can eat that are attractive too. Here are a few examples:

Lotus flower forming the pod
Lotus flower forming the pod
Lotus pod
Lotus pod

1.     Lotus– If you have a water garden or pond then you may have a few Lotus pods. Grown for their beautiful flowers these water loving plants can also be eaten. The nuts that are produced in large seed pods in fall and winter are great to eat raw or roasted. They can even be ground into flour. Tubers which grow at the ends of runners underwater can be harvested in late summer and fall and used much like a potato. The tubers are great candied with a little ginger. Be sure to remove the green centers of the nuts before eating as they have a bitter flavor. A Lotus can be differentiated from a Lilly Pad because the pad of a Lotus is round, without a cleft.

 

Cannas in the middle of the container
Cannas in the middle of the container

2.     Canna Lilly – Also known as Cannons, these tall flowers are prolific in many yards. With leaves like a banana tree and big, beautiful multicolored flowers many gardeners love this hardy plant. However you can also eat some parts of it. The young shoots are edible as well as the tuber-like roots. You can use the large leaves like you would banana leaves to wrap food to be cooked. The tubers have high starch content and make great flour. Cut them up into thin disks and let dry. Then crumble into a bowl of water. The starch will sink while the fiber floats. Discard the floating parts and let the starch dry completely before grinding into flour. 

Lobularia maritima, Allyssum
Alyssum

 

3.     Alyssum– The delicate white flowers of this plant make it a common feature in spring landscaping as the heat tends to kill them off. Although it is also known as “Sweet Alyssum” it is actually related to the mustard family and has a similar taste. Both the flowers and the young, green seedpods are edible. They have a taste similar to horseradish and can favor dishes. The leaves are also edible and can be used like mustard greens.

 

Amaranth in front of Dahlias at Giverny
Amaranth in front of Dahlias at Giverny

4.     Amaranth– The red variety of this large leaved plant is often used in garden decoration. They also have a spike of tiny, clustered flowers the same color as their leaves. Both the leaves and the flowers can be eaten. Young leaves make a great spinach substitute in salads and older leaves taste good cooked. The seeds of this plant have a nutty flavor when eaten raw or they can be roasted and then ground for a nutritious and delicious gluten free flour. The seeds of this plant contain the amino acid lysine which is very rare for plants but vital for human health. A single plant can produce as many as 100,000 seeds, and the red variety is just as productive as the green ones.

 

Red Rose climber on my pergola
Red Rose climber on my pergola

5.     Rose  –We all knows what a rose looks like and smells like, but did you know you could eat parts of your rose plant as well? Rose hips and flowers can be eaten. Rose hips are the bulging areas that form below the flower. They have very high concentrations of vitamin C and can be made into jam, jelly or tea. Rose petals make a colorful addition to salads and can also make a wonderful light flavored jelly.

Rose Hips
Rose Hips

 

6.     Redbud  – The last one on our list is actually a tree. The redbud tree is used as decoration in landscaping duet to the beautiful display of pink flowers in the spring. The flowers themselves are edible and have a sweet flavor. Opened flowers are sweeter than buds. The seed pods that form after the flowers fall are also great cooked up in stir fries and the like. However after a couple of weeks they become tough and unpalatable, so harvest early.

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Redbud tree in full bloom on my property