More Edible Flowers!
Spring is rushing into summer here in the US Pacific Northwest. We’re still getting rain, drizzle, and intermittent showers. The lilacs have just finished and their sweet fragrance is preserved in jelly.
My garden is not orderly. Truth be told, if kale wants to grow between the onions instead of the raised bed I’ve prepared that’s okay with me. Renegade strawberries, oregano, and lemon balm move around by root and seed making harvest a treasure hunt.
The edible flowers in my garden include Calendula officinalis. Commonly called Calendula or Pot Marigold. Calendula come in oranges and yellows with multiple petals. Their seeds are big and abundant, easy to gather in the fall and redistribute in the spring. Other edible flowers I’ll be preparing this summer include roses (Rosa rugosa), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Edible flowers top melon and fruit salads, flavor peachy muffins, syrups, toppings, and provide color and flavor to deviled eggs, potato salad, paella, rice, and tofu. Top sugar cookies before they bake with edible petals of calendula, cat mint, rose, and borage for added color and whimsey. Below you'll find a couple of recipes :)
A diet full of yellow and orange fruit and vegetables includes carotenoids. Carotenoids are anti-inflammatory and healing compounds. They also improve eye health and create vitamin A. Our body cannot make its own carotenoids, we must ingest them.
Calendula extracts are used in salves, lotions, and teas. You’ll find it among the ingredients of topical skin treatments and in pill format for ulcers and inflammation. Calendula has a reputation for being a treatment for cramps, to prevent nausea, cool rashes and hives, to warm, to increase sweating, and for healing wounds as a mild antibiotic.
Please note: A flower deemed edible does not mean it is automatically safe to consume. Pollen can cause allergic reactions when eaten by some people. It is important to proceed with caution because many flowers are poisonous. Identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers. Also, eat only flowers that bloom from plants that were naturally grown and never eat flowers from a floral shop, treated with chemicals or grown along a roadside, parking lot, or ditch.
Enjoy knowing and using edible flowers. May they bring you joy and hope.
Reminder: I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I share my own experiences on this blog. Nothing I express here should be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.
 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Impacting Absorption, Metabolism, and Health Effects of Dietary Carotenoids.” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 9,4 (2018): 465-492. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy025
Gluten Free CALENDULA PEACH MUFFINS
Adapted from https://easyrealfood.com/gluten-free-peach-muffins/
This muffin recipe includes oat flour. If you are unfamiliar with oat flour, you can buy it as is, or you can put rolled oats into a blender and pulse for about 20 seconds until it turns into flour.
One other note on the recipe: I like to use coconut oil making this dairy free. Some coconut oils add a coconut flavor, alternatively use melted vegan margarine by Earth Balance or butter.
¼ C. Calendula Syrup (Start preparing the syrup the evening before - recipe follows. It’s worth it!)
1 C. oat flour
½ C. almond flour, (If the flour is not readily available, use the same method to make almond flour as for oat flour)
1 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
1 ½ t. cinnamon, ground
6 oz. plain or Vanilla yogurt
2 T. melted coconut oil or butter
1 heaping C. peaches, cut in to 1 in. pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease 8 x 8 in. x 1 ½ inch glass pan
2. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients separately. Incorporate wet into dry. Do not over mix. Fold in peaches to combine.
3. Fill baking container and bake in preheated oven.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Optional: While still warm, poke holes with a toothpick and pour about a teaspoon of Calendula Syrup into the muffins.
Adapted from Nitha’s Kitchen.
– Start preparing they syrup the evening before making the Peach Muffins.
1 ½ C. fresh Calendula petals (only the petals)
1 C. sugar
1 ¼ C. water
1 t. lemon juice (or 2 t. of freshly squeezed organic lemon and a teaspoon of the organic lemon zest chopped finely)
Pinch of salt (I prefer sea salt)
1. Clean and pick the Calendula petals
2. Pat dry to remove excess water with a dry clean cloth
3. Layer the petals and 4 T. and gently rub the Calendula petals using the back of a spoon or wooden muddler
4. Leave it for one hour or overnight. The petals will shrink a bit.
5. An hour later or the next morning, boil 1 ¼ C. of water in a saucepan
6. Add the shrinked petals, remaining sugar, salt, and lemon.
7. Boil continuously on medium heat.
8. The petals may lose their color as the water gains it.
9. The syrup gets thicker and the flavor gets stronger. Reduce to at least 1 C.
10. Strain the syrup. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for later use.
To find Nitha’s recipe and search for her others which you might like, follow her link https://www.nithaskitchen.com/2013/09/homemade-rose-syrup-using-fresh-rose.html