On Valentine’s Day, with so much hanging in the balance, chefs should pull out all the stops, right?
The use of edible flowers in culinary dishes and beverages was quite common during the Victorian era in England, as they appreciated them for their flavor and aesthetics. Desserts were “almost always lavishly decorated . . . Cakes often were flavored with rose water and caraway seeds, and candies with lemon verbena, lemon balm and mint. Both fresh and candied edible flowers decorated dessert plates, tea sandwiches, and petits fours . . . nonalcoholic elder-flower beverages ended many a fine meal.”
Fiery yellow, red and orange nasturtium blooms have been popular trellis climbers in European gardens ever since the gardeners of the French King Louis XIV started cultivating them in his flowerbeds.
Flowers represent so many things in our culture. We gather them up to give to a girl we're sweet on, we give them to our teacher on the first day of school, we take a bunch to our mom on Mother's Day, and we carry them to the grave site of someone we've loved and lost as a symbol of our continued commitment to them.
Powerful and unique, edible flowers have been used for thousands of years by Roman, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures. Victorians used flowers in salads, pickled them for winter storage or candied them for garnishes.