At the core of my little preserving business are edible flowers; most of my products I make play host to flowers gathered in their prime, full of perfume & promise. After my cupboards got full [story here > ], I started filling my freezer with my finds & something magical happened. The flavours I had plucked months before hand came out of their deep freeze exactly as good, sometime even better as the moment I gathered them.
Here are some favourite edible flowers for this time of year:
- Mahonia (Oregon Grape) – flowering from midwinter to mid spring, Mahonia produces some of the first flowers of the year – the sour, perfumed flowers are used to make a lemonade like drink & their flavour infuses well in light syrups & alcohol. Delicious paired with earl grey tea, and apple.
- Gorse Flowers flowering through late winter gorse flowers cope like pros with freezing – gather them on a warm sunny day to make the most of their earthy, honeyed coconut flavours. Gorse is a great bed fellow with Bramble buds & their tannin rich nutty flavours.
- Rosemary flowers Rosemary flowers have sweet, woody flavours, I pair them with birch sap & violet in a deeply flavoured jelly. They taste fantastic but thaw badly, so thaw them into a cool sugar syrup if you want to use the whole flower in a cocktail to prevent them breaking down.
- Violets – woodland violets are peppery rather than perfumed like sweet violets, though all violets can be frozen. Stir frozen flowers into sugar syrup prior to use to retain their vivid fresh colour. For parma violet flavour use viola oderata – you can also use the leaf extract to flavour cream & syrups.
- Primroses – Primroses taste buttery, sweet & slightly like apple. They stay vibrant & yellow, you can use them whole or crush them into flakes which suspend in drinks.
- Ribes (Flowering currant) Tasting like a combination of sage, rose petals, thyme & currant, flowering currants are pink carriers of flavour. Their beautiful petals are hardy in the freezer & can be used as as a garnish when thawed. I blend them with slivers of angelica, pine tips & mint stalks.
- Sweet Rocket / Honesty & kale flowers Sweet members of the mustard family, these flowers cope with freezing & thawing well, adding floral flavours with bite to drinks. Perfect for muddling direct into a cocktail.
Visit Liz’s “little preserving business” for more information, products and courses: Forage Fine Foods >