Cooking with edible flowers

May 19, 2015

Gardens and hedgerows can be a great source of ingredients for recipes. When I was young my mum and dad used to take us into the country and we would pick elderflowers, rose-hips, blackberries and many other plants. These were used to make wine, jams and jellies. There is something special about opening a jar of jam and knowing you have made it and picked the berries. These days foraging for food is less common place, which in a way is sad. We had some great days out as children and learnt a lot about our countryside as a result.

The Chelsea flower show has just started, somewhere I would love to visit. The gardens are riots of colour and put my garden to shame. To mark the start of the Chelsea Flower Show Turtle Mat have challenged food bloggers to do some cooking with edible flowers. I love a good challenge and was interested to see what I could make. My first thought was some sort of salad, but that would not have been much of a challenge. I have fond memories of salads with nasturtium leaves and flowers using up the plants that were taking over my mums garden. This time I did not have to go and pick the flowers myself, I was sent a parcel with some dried edible flowers.It contained tubs of dried cornflowers, marigold and jasmine. I decided to make a dessert and created jasmine ice cream with cornflower butterscotch sauce and marigold and orange shortbread.

 Jasmine ice cream with butterscotch sauceJasmine Ice Cream

I have always been a lover of jasmine tea, it has a delicate floral taste that ends a meal perfectly. I wondered it if would be possible to create an ice cream that had a hint of that delicate floral flavour. I have made ice cream previously, last year when I had a glut of raspberries I made raspberry ice cream. It was not as hard as I expected and the purchase of a cheap ice cream maker made it easier. To make the jasmine ice cream I heated the cream until it was simmering then removed it from the heat.  I added the jasmine flowers and sugar and then left the cream to cool for a few hours. The jasmine flavour infused though the cream.

Jasmine ice creamI then strained the cream though a sieve to remove the dried flowers.The mixture was then poured into my ice cream maker and churned until it became ice cream. If you do not have an ice cream maker you can just freeze the mixture. The result was a lovely creamy ice cream with a very delicate floral flavour. It was lovely and I was really pleased with how it turned out.
Jasmine Ice Cream

Jasmine ice cream

Jasmine ice cream
Author: Alison
Ingredients
  • ½ litre double cream
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • handful dried jasmine flowers
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Put the cream in a pan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir until it dissolves.
  3. Add the jasmine flowers, cover and leave to cool for a couple of hours.
  4. Use a sieve to strain the flowers from the mixture pouring it though the sieve into a bowl.
  5. Add the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Cool in the fridge for an hour then use an ice cream maker to make the ice cream or place in the freezer until solid.

Cornflower Butterscotch Sauce

The perfect accompaniment for ice cream is butterscotch sauce. I decided to use the cornflowers to infuse my butterscotch sauce with their flavour. Cornflowers are a familiar sight with their pretty blue flowers often seen in cornfields. They are also known as centaura cyanus, named for the Greek centaur Chiron who was a skilled herbalist. He used cornflowers to counteract the effect of arrows tipped with poison from the Hydra, the many headed monster which guards the gates to Hades.

Butterscotch sauce

Butterscotch sauce is one of those things that is really strange to make. The ingredients are heated together in a pan, the butter melts and you keep stirring wondering if it will ever thicken. Just when you are about to give up hope it thickens into a lovely sauce that is full of flavour and ideal for topping ice cream.

Butterscotch sauce

Butterscotch Sauce with Cornflowers
Author: Alison
Ingredients
  • 250 ml cream
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 60 g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • handful cornflower petals
Instructions
  1. Place the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
  2. Simmer on a low heat until the sauce thickens.
  3. Leave to cool

Marigold and orange shortbread

The orange colour of marigolds is a familiar sight in many gardens and I thought they would work perfectly teamed with orange to make a shortbread biscuit to serve with the ice cream. The shortbread would also be delicious served with a cup of tea in the afternoon or indeed eaten when you fancy something sweet.

Marigold shortbreadThe marigold adds an interesting colour to the biscuit as well as a delicate taste that works well with the orange. I think the strands of petals look pretty and add an interesting texture. If you didn’t know flowers had been used to make the biscuits you would not notice.

Marigold biscuitsMarigold biscuits.

Marigold and orange shortbread
Author: Alison
Ingredients
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 125 g butter
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • handful marigold petals
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C
  2. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until a dough is formed.
  3. Add the orange zest, vanilla and marigold petals and mix though.
  4. Roll out the dough and cut into biscuit shapes using a cutter.
  5. Place on a baking tray and bake for fifteen minutes until golden
I was really pleased with the outcome of my experiments using edible flowers, I managed to create a really tasty dessert. The different parts came together to complement each other perfectly, the gentle floral taste of the ice cream, the sweet butterscotch sauce and the orange in the biscuits made a great taste combination. It would definitely impress at a dinner party.  Galina at Chez Maximka has also been cooking with flowers and made a really lovely looking chocolate bundt cake with crystallised violet petals. Have you ever used edible flowers in cooking? What did you make?

I was sent the edible flowers in order to create a recipe.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

17 responses to “Cooking with edible flowers”

  1. Eileen Teo says:

    I love using flower for food! I recently saw they sell those edible flower seeds. So tempted to buy it. But I think I would prefer to buy it than grow it. They look so delicious!

  2. Oh wow! They all look and sound delicious, especially the jasmine ice cream. I love to use lavender in baking but must try more x #tastytuesdays

  3. Wow I’ve never ventured into baking with flowers, and you did all 3 recipes with! So impressive…and tasty too I bet!

    #tastytuesdays

    .:Marta:.

  4. Jasmine ice cream sounds amazing. I bet it is really full of flavour.

  5. Elisa says:

    Love your recipes, I enjoy making foods or crafts where nature provides the ingredients. I have just made some dandelion honey and cordial… I will definitely try the jasmine ice cream…thank you!.

  6. Lisa says:

    Edible flowers? Never heard of this before, sounds rather interesting.

  7. Galina V says:

    What a fab selection of recipes, Alison! The jasmine ice cream is genius, I bet it was delicious. The shortbread looks great too. Thank you for your kind mention!

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