Sweet Summer Flowers for Supper | Contributing Columnist Florica Vlad

Columnist Florica Vlad shares her love for food and unique Bay Area locales and experiences on SFblotter. She first dipped her toes into the local-food movement with the Bronfman Jewish Center at NYU, where she studied permaculture, slept in greenhouses, prepared CSA boxes, and got behind-the-scenes looks at ethical farms and restaurants. Since, Florica loves keeping abreast of new trends and tastemakers, all while learning a bit of culinary know-how herself. Now, she’s interviewing professional jellymongers, dining with food designers, assisting pioneering vertical gardeners, and going to fabulous underground dinners!

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Darling buds of summer are popping up on foodies’ plates this season. Edible flowers add delicate, new flavors to old, favorite dishes, while enhancing the plate visually and aromatically. If it is true that we eat first with our eyes, then a plate lavishly decorated with flowers is both enticing and irresistible!

As a general rule, the flowers of herbs tend to have a similar taste to the leaves, if not more subdued. For example, the needle-like, sweet-resin scent of Rosemary is extremely mild in its blue and pink flowers; while the spicy, peppery taste of Nasturtium leaves is matched in its yellow, orange and red flowers, carrying just a hint of sweet nectar. You can play around with structuring a dish to use all parts of a plant—from the leaves, to the seeds, to the flowers—and see what creative approaches you uncover! Below are some ideas for beginning to add florals to your favorite dishes.
Blend chive flowers with vegan Earth Balance.

Borage flowers can be candied and eaten as dessert.
Use chamomile flowers fresh or dried to make tea.
Add elderflowers to drinks or cordials, and brew dried flowers for tisanes.
Use mustard flowers in stir-fry dishes and salads.
Fold wild garlic flower into a summer-tomato salad.
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