Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Edible Flowers, once again!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/07/22

OK, I spoke too soon with my previous post: There was one other major event to consider!

Last night, once again, was the ever-wonderful, 11th annual, Edible Flowers Food Fest, sponsored by the Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) Parks Department and the Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County.

The speaker’s topic this year was how to establish an Edible Flower Container Garden. While the plants discussed and demonstrated could be use in either large or small spaces, the use of a container garden is one way to encourage others to get started with growing flowers to use in meals themselves, not only as decorations on the table.

My own major edible-flower contribution was having spent several days last May collecting violet blossoms from my (somewhat disastrous but healthily organic) yard and freezing them into several flower-dense ice rings (for the serving bowls) plus hundreds upon hundreds of individual ice cubes (for the drink glasses). Luckily, my friend Susan agreed to take several bags of my ice cubes to store in her freezer until the day of the event, thus lessening the amount of space I had to devote to them in the interim.

I was also one of several dozen Master Gardeners who, in addition to contributing flowers and other edibles, helped to prepare the food on one or more of the four days in advance of the event, served the goodies, and helped to clean everything up afterwards. A long but rewarding week!

A special highlight of this year’s event was the release of Denise Scheiber’s lovely new book, Eat Your Roses … Pansies, Lavender, and 49 other Delicious Edible Flowers. (It’s published by St. Lynns Press in Pittsburgh, PA.)

Of course, we call it “Eat Your Roses” for short. Denise is a horticulturist and greenhouse manager with the Allegheny County Parks, and is the person who initiated and continues to organize “our” great Edible Flowers event into a delightful fund-raiser. If you know anything about the history of the Edible Flowers Food Fest (or, if you don’t but buy the book), you’ll know why Denise chose roses to lead her parade of edible flowers! In short, her Rose Petal Ice Cream (which led to the whole EFFF event) is superb!

Along with some basic information on which flowers are and are not edible, on gathering flowers and saving or preparing them for use, plus some basic sources and resources (including the central number for the Poison Control Center just in case someone doesn’t heed all the appropriate advice), the book has one basic page for each of the 52 edible flower types Denise has selected. She doesn’t provide detailed information on growing them (that information is available plenty of other places for any plants that interest you), but she does include a photo, some important aspects of each plant’s nature and general appeal, information on their sensory impact, and a number of suggested uses. All of those give great clues as to which ones are likely be of most interest to you. She also provides about 30 pages of detailed recipes, some with extra variations, to get you started with ways to incorporate edible flowers into your cooking. Once you’ve tried those, you can go on to experiment with adding them to your own favorite recipes. Bon appetit!

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