When we think of flowers, we picture them in a vase, bundled up in a bouquet, growing in a garden, or adorning the altars of churches during May celebrations like Flores de Mayo. Few of us can imagine flowers on a plate—much less eating flowers! But certain flowers are actually edible—and taste great!
In fact, you’ve probably eaten a number of them already. Squash flowers (kalabasa), banana blossoms (puso ng saging), and even the common artichoke, cauliflower, and broccoli are typical examples of edible flowers.
Flowers can be turned into drinks, too! Dried chrysanthemums, roses, jasmine, chamomile, and lavender are ingredients usually found in herbal teas. (Read: The Pope’s Cup of Tea)
But before you nibble at every flower you see, take your cue from the author of the book The Mosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden, David Hirsch: “The most important thing to remember about edible flowers is to be fully familiar with them. Some flowers are poisonous and make sure they are organically grown.”
Here are some recipes for dishes and a drink that include flowers in their ingredients:
Savory: Ginisang Bulaklak ng Kalabasa
- Vegetable oil
- ½ head garlic, minced
- 1 medium size onion, chopped
- 1 big size tomato, chopped
- ¼ c. patis
- 1 big bundle sitaw, cut into 1 ½ ” length
- 1 big bundle talbos ng kalabasa, trimmed
- 2 big bundle bulaklak ng kalabasa, trimmed
- 1. In a saucepan, sauté garlic, onion, and tomato.
- 2. Add pork and shrimp. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
- 3. Add in patis and 1 ½ cups stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- 4. Add sitaw and talbos ng kalabasa and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- 5. Add bukaklak ng kalabasa and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Serve with fried dish.
Sweet: Rose Petal Jam
- 1 ½ cup filtered water
- 2 ounces (approximately 2 cups lightly packed) wild rose petals (preferably collected 50 feet from the roads and in a pesticide-free area)
- 2 cups organic cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fruit pectin
- 1. Place water and roses in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
- 2. Add 1 ¾ cup of sugar into the simmering petals. Stir to dissolve the sugar crystals.
- 3. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pay attention to the gorgeous vibrant color that emerges.
- 4. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the remaining ¼ cup sugar and pectin in a bowl.
- 5. While stirring the jam, add the pectin mixture sprinkle by sprinkle to ensure pectin incorporates without clumping.
- 6. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. It may seem quite loose for jam, it will firm up as it sets but does remain more of a silky syrup with luscious bits of petals.
- 7. Keep for 2 months in the fridge, also freezes beautifully and canning is always a brilliant option.
Drink: Gumamela Tea
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 cup of gumamela petals
- ½ cup of sugar
- ½ cup of calamansi juice
- 1. Boil the water. When it starts boiling add the petals, sugar, and calamansi juice.
- 2. Serve the tea with ice or serve it while hot.