At The Chef’s Garden, we grow 65 varieties of edible flowers and each and every flower has unique tasting notes. For example:
Jamie Simpson, the executive chef of the Culinary Vegetable Institute, shares how he selects flowers based on their personalities, rather than their colors alone – and, just as chefs choose a sauce, a protein, a vegetable and a salt, choosing the right flower adds yet another dimension to a dish.
You can pair sweet and/or floral-scented blossoms with fruit dishes or with desserts or cool drinks. Peppery blooms, meanwhile, bring out the best in salads and pastas. In Victorian England, people pickled edible flowers for winter storage, candied them for garnishes and used them in salads. They’ve been used for thousands of years, as far back as in cuisines by Ancient Roman, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures.
You can also select flowers symbolically. For example, “dianthus” translates to “flower of love” or “flower of the gods,” making it an ideal choice for romantic dinners. The color of the French marigold causes it to be associated with the sun. Over the centuries, its symbolic meaning has fluctuated, but “Modern meanings focus on the sunny color and beauty . . . giving the flower a meaning of optimism and success . . . Marigolds were carried as love charms or spells in the Middle Ages by both genders who wanted to attract someone new.”
The viola, meanwhile, says “let's play already . . . symbolizing let's laugh and frolic in the garden. The time is now to unleash the inner child and play in the garden. Take some time to play in the dirt, or on the swing, or just have a lazy afternoon.”
The bachelor button? Well, “Dating even before King Tutankhamen, myth says that the Bachelor Button was even tied to Greek Mythology when Chiron was attacked with an arrow but cured with the flower’s powerful nectar. This soon became the basis for making the blossom signify ‘protection’ and ‘healing.’”
The symbolic meaning of the nasturtium has also fluctuated over the centuries. Today, “the nasturtium resonates towards a ‘happy’ theme and has also become an emblem for the warm summer months of July and August.”
Our mixed edible flowers are available in all hues with flavors ranging from sweet to slightly bitter, and from herbaceous and aromatic to citrus. Textures range from firm to soft to succulent, and from fuzzy to waxy to crispy. Some come as whole flowers, others as petals, all enhancing dishes.
If you are using our mixed edible flowers in creative ways in your dishes, we’d love to hear your story!