I have left the kitchen today in preference for the garden. The sun is shining and those air temperatures are rising so I've decided it's time to get planting.
I love to use fresh flowers on cakes as they look oh-so-pretty and provide a real freshness and vibrancy. But not all flowers are suitable to go on cakes so make sure you do your research if you plan to add florals to your bakes! Some flowers are entirely edible (like violas and honeysuckle) while with others (like lavender, roses and chrysanthemums), only the petals should be eaten.
Happily, plenty of edible flowers can be grown in our British climate - and the bees love them!
Violas, pansies, primroses and dianthus are all edible flowers and can be placed directly onto cakes or icing. Violas have a sweet perfumed flavour while dianthus taste mildly of cloves.
I am growing from seed nasturtium, cornflower and calendula. Nasturtiums come in a riot of bright oranges, yellows and reds and have a mild peppery
flavour - a great addition to salads.
Cornflowers are known for their
beautiful blue 'fluffy' flower but they
also come in shades of pink & white.
Their petals look fab in summer
cocktails! Calendula (also known as
Marigolds) have large, orange, daisy-
like flowers with petals that have a
tangy / spicy flavour.
These seeds should hopefully germinate
over the next couple of weeks and then
from my little seedlings, beautiful edible
blooms should appear :-)
Herbs are also a great source of edible flowers. I already have thyme & rosemary in my garden so today I've also planted chive seeds and borage seeds. Chives have those cute little purple pom-pom flowers whilst borage has pretty star shaped flowers, bright blue in colour which really jazz up a cake, salad or summer drink.
To make your flowers last all year round, why not crystallise them? Brush the petals lightly with egg white making sure every surface is completely covered, then sprinkle with caster sugar and leave overnight to harden. Store in an airtight container until you want to use them.
Easter cupcakes with fresh primroses. Crystallised primroses
By growing my own, I know that there are no harmful pesticides or chemical residues on my flowers. If you're unsure about what is safe to eat, a good website is: www.rhs.org.uk If in doubt, don't eat it!