Introduction to Rawganique's Off-The-Grid Vegan Homesteading On Denman Island
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Edible Flowers for the Raw, Organic, & Unique Table
July 15, 2004 by Touch Jamikorn
After a long hiatus from writing for Raw For Life due to the sheer amount of work for Rawganique.com (thank you from all of us for all your support and encouragement -- we could not have done it without you -- it's so affirming to know so many of you out there care as passionately and zealously as we do about this fragile planet of ours ), I'm now fired up again to share with you the wonderful things I've learned from our homesteading experience of five years and counting. In this article, I'd like to talk about edible flowers and their role in the raw food cuisine.
Nasturtiums, Chrysanthemums (of which the common ox-eyed daisy is a member), kale blossoms, honeysuckle, Calendula, blossoms of any edible fruit, and more will up the gourmet factor of almost any raw food dish you could prepare: they add eye candy in the form of bright colors, unique natural beauty, and sometimes surprise taste (most flowers don't have much taste, but some, such as nasturtium, do). Not to mention the curiosity factor that will keep you and your guests occupied in charmed conversation throughout the whole meal and long after.
In the beginning of my homesteading career, I was too preoccupied with leafy and root vegetables and fruit trees to have time for flowers. And to be honest, I didn't really know that you could eat flowers. I thought they were just useless ornaments that were grown for effect in the garden -- people who had nothing to do with their time. Of course, they attracted insects, which is a great thing for the rest of your garden, but that was the extent of my interest in flowers. I was too *busy* for flowers.
Then a neighbor of ours invited us over for dinner. We were served a very simple, very elegant salad of home-grown organic vegetables that was beautifully garnished with Johnny-Jump-Ups, kale blossoms, and nasturtium quite early in the spring and I was hooked. The salad was so elegant, so fresh, so alive, and so visually stunning at the same time. Soon after that, I went on a quest to find any flower at all that was edible and have since come up with quite a list.
But you don't have to put them all in your food: I've found that flowers are a great balm for the soul. Yes, I've since come around to being able to enjoy flowers for their own sake -- their subtle scents and showy displays of colors and forms have a lot to offer the tired soul at the end of the day: they cheer you up, calm you down, and act as an all-in-all conditioner for the spirit. Now that my garden is pretty much set up, I have more time to smell the roses, as it were (and yes, rose petals are edible too!).
Here are some of my favorites: Nasturtium (shown below in yellow and persimmon), pomegranate blossom (center of photo -- kind of frilly looking), ox-eyed daisy (the curled-over white petals with green stem and a bright yellow center), and Calendula (eat the petals, not the center, so I'm told--shown below, far right). Try them out. I'm sure you'll be pleased. Your guests will wax enthusiastic over their meal for days, weeks, and months on end.