Magazine article Sunset

Flower Power

Magazine article Sunset

Flower Power

Article excerpt

From the garden or market, edible blossoms add a riot of color to summer salads

A rose is a rose is a rose, until it's in your salad bowl. Then it becomes an ingredient with alluring color, delicate flavor, and Monet impact. Other edible blossoms, including herb flowers, can be equally effective.

Many palatable flower varieties, grown without pesticides and chemicals to preserve their edibility, are sold in the produce section. They may seem a bit pricey, but a few go a long way to enhance other foods. If you raise these tasty posies with identical care, you can pluck them from your own garden for dining. However, the same flowers from a florist can be harmful if consumed because of what's added.

Edible flowers you are apt to encounter at the market are listed on page 134. Don't experiment with other varieties without expert guidance. Some flowers are poisonous; others just taste bad. If you need a local source for edible flowers, contact HerbThyme Farms in South San Francisco at (650) 9524372 or They distribute throughout the West.

Rose Petal Fruit Salad

PREP TIME: About 10 minutes NOTES: Rose flower water is available in liquor stores, Middle Eastern food markets, and fancy supermarkets. MAKES: 6 servings

1 1/2 cups blueberries, rinsed

3 1/2 cups sliced nectarines

1/4 cup rose petals, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup Johnny-jump-ups (stems pinched off), rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar About 1 1/2 teaspoons rose flower water

Salt (optional)

1. Arrange berries and nectarines on a platter; sprinkle flowers over fruit.

2. In a small bowl, mix vinegar with rose lower water to taste. Spoon evenly over salad. Season to taste with salt. Per serving: 61 cal., 7.4% (4.5 cal.) from fat; 1 g protein; 0.5 g fat (0 g sat.); 15 g carbo (2.1 g fiber); 2.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Bouquet Mix Salad

PREP TIME: About 10 minutes

NOTES: Use a combination of flowers including Johnny-jump-ups and pansies (stems pinched off), nasturtiums (with stems), and rose petals.

MAKES: 6 servings

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil teaspoon grated orange peel

2 quarts (6 to 8 oz.) salad mix, rinsed and drained

3 cups edible blossoms or petals (see notes), rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper In a wide bowl, combine orange juice, lemon juice, oil, and orange peel. Add salad mix and blossoms. Mix and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 36 cal., 58% (21 cal.) from fat; 0.6 g protein; 2.3 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 3.1 g carbo (0.3 g fiber); 7.7 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Nasturtium Pasta Salad

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 20 minutes NOTES: To cut cucumber sticks, slice cucumber into -inch-thick rounds, stack rounds, and cut into -inch-wide pieces. Rinse and drain calendula or marigold flowers, then pull off petals.

MAKES: 4 entree servings 3/4 pound dried farfalle (bow-tie) pasta

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh-ground pepper

1 cup (4 oz.) crumbled feta cheese

3/4 cup English cucumber sticks (see notes)


1/2 cup calendula or marigold petals (see notes)

3 1/2 cups nasturtium blossoms, rinsed and drained

3 1/2 cups tender nasturtium leaves or butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and drained

1. Cook pasta in about 3 quarts boiling water over high heat until tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain, immerse in cold water, and drain when cool, about 3 minutes.

2. In large bowl, mix lemon juice, oil, and pepper. Add pasta, feta, and cucumber. …

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