Floral Fare


In Greek mythology, Hecate fed Theseus dandelions for 30 days so he would become powerful enough to defeat the Minotaur. Dandelions have medicinal value as a diuretic; fats and cholesterol cutter; gas pain reliever; treatment for kidney stones; cancer and diabetes fighter; blood cleanser; weight reducer; vision sharpener; skin and acne treatment; bowel functions regulator; blood pressure controller; and, solution to the anemia problem.

Dandelions can flavor beverages and juices; and may be used in recipes for omelets, salads, gelatins, quiche, soup, pasta dishes, breads, pizza, gravy, dips, spreads, pies, cookies, jellies, waffles, fritters, and pudding. http://EzineArticles.com/60537

Although it’s not very common today, historically, many cultures used flowers often in cooking. In ancient Rome, roses were used to flavor cooked brains. In the middle east roses and orange blossoms were used to flavor sweets and lassies.

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Although, brains are a bit out of culinary fashion in most parts of the world these days the Chines still use flowers a lot in cooking. In these modern times, a common culinary use of flowers is simply to add them to salads. You can also roll them into home made pasta, decorate cakes, make teas, or freeze them in ice cubes for fancy time. But cooking with flowers is largely a lost tradition.

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Lucky for me I have a yard full of flowers – dandelions. I’m considering a serious cultivation effort this year because dandelions are packed full of good nutrients. Cultivating is easy. Pick a flower that has gone to seed, make a wish and blow. That’s it. Done. You’ll have a fresh new batch in about two weeks. We often think of flowers being used in sweets, but many of them are spice worthy. Toss some garlic petals or magnolia petals on top of you masala potatoes or mix in some mint flowers with your raita. You can even add some flavor to plain goat cheese by adding some finely chopped flowers or petals.

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You probably shouldn’t cook up that Valentine’s bouquet, however (for several reasons), mainly because the flowers are treated with pesticides. If you go foraging for flowers stay away from areas that have been sprayed. In the city, a lot of people use herbs in sidewalk beds because they are low maintenance and usually not sprayed.

Dandelion Fritters

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  • mix together one egg and one cup of milk.  Stir in a cup of flour and your fritter batter is ready to go.  (If you like your fritters sweet you can add a little maple syrup, honey, vanilla.)
  • Now, prepare a skillet on the stove with gently warmed olive oil or vegetable oil – keep it over medium heat. 
  • Take one of the flowers and hold it by the greens at the base of the flower petals. Dip the petals into the batter and twirl until the flower is covered. 
  • Drop it into the skillet, flower side down.  Continue dipping and dropping flowers, checking the first ones every once in a while to see if they are brown.  When they’ve lightly browned, flip them over and brown them on the other side.
  • When they’re brown on both sides remove them from the skillet and drain the excess oil on paper towel. 
  • For a sweet treat, drizzle them with maple syrup, honey, jam, or powdered sugar.  For savory fritters try dipping in mustard or adding some savory herbs to the batter.

You can make these with any kind of edible flower including garlic blossoms, lavender, squash blossoms, marigolds, fennel, and even roses. You can also tweak your batter by adding other spices such as ground cardamon, chili powder, pepper, etc.

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