Edible Flowers: Anise Hyssop and Wild Roses
Our love affair with edible flowers is back! Last summer we looked at marigolds and gardenias. With the spring showers pouring and blossoms blooming, we’re already seeing the world get a whole lot brighter, both outdoors and on our plates.
These bright orange buds are anise hyssop, also known as agastache. Their violet counterparts are more commonly recognized, but I went with the warm-hued hybrid for the sweet treat I had in mind. The little blooms are delicate and small but have a distinct flavor— licorice-y, slightly sweet, and almost a little minty.
Continuing with the springtime scheme, wild roses are the perfect pick. Less saturated in color, these blossoms smell and taste like traditional roses but are more subdued and sweet. Basically, you won't feel like you're chomping on a flower bouquet (well, at least not as much).
So where am I going with this? Falling victim to my sweet tooth and secret love of tea time, I dappled the soft petals onto individual tea cakes. These white chocolate cakes are layered with a pistachio-cinnamon ricotta filling and happily draped with a tangy lemon glaze. (I think I just heard your stomach grumble … or maybe that was mine …)
When trying any new ingredient, start simple. Here we had minty, licorice-y, and rosy floral, then we let our minds do the rest. Think about what you usually want mint in. Or licorice. Or that floral aroma. Then go forth and experiment. Have fun!
*** When picking flowers to be eaten, make sure they were grown in a pesticide-free environment (meaning that most florists won’t be a suitable source). Talk to people who sell flowers and even restaurants who use edible flowers, get to know your floral foods, and get creative!
Flowers are best eaten at their peak! Avoid wilted or unopened blossoms. And, as always with new ingredients, introduce them into your diet slowly to prevent possible allergic reactions.