With the summer season now in full swing, and with gardens, parks and farmers markets filling up with the fragrant aromas and beautiful colors of newly picked flowers, now is the perfect time to start experimenting with edible flowers.
Edible flowers can be used in a number of ways. This includes adding them to salads, using them to make vinegar and garnishing various different dishes.
One of the best ways to use edible flowers is by adding them to your cocktails.
Adding flowers to cocktails has a number of uses. As well being able to improve the appearance of your cocktail by adding a petal, by making syrups or infusions it is also possible to add a delicate floral flavor and aroma to you summer drinks.
Next time you are considering how to add the wow factor to a party, dinner or barbecue why not consider making cocktails using edible flowers?
How to use edible flowers
There are three main ways to use edible flowers in cocktails. These are:
- Making a flower infusion
- Making a flower syrup
- Using whole flowers
While it is possible to buy ready-made flavored syrups and infusions, it is of course much more satisfying to simply make your own.
To make an easy infusion for your cocktail you can place the flowers into your cocktail shaker with a touch of water and some sugar. Using a spoon, or a muddler if you have one, you should push down onto the flowers and twist to release their aroma and flavors. You will know when it is ready as you will be able to smell the flowers' unique fragrance.
From here you can add the rest of the ingredients into your shaker and complete the final steps of the recipe.
Making a flower syrup is almost as easy. All you need to do is add equal parts sugar and water into a pan and heat until the sugar fully dissolves into the water. At this point, you should turn off the heat, add your flowers and let the liquid cool for around thirty minutes. While the liquid is cooling the flower’s delicate flavors will seep into the syrup, creating an irresistible sweet yet fragrant syrup.
Adding a whole flower to your cocktail can add a striking feature to the presentation of your drink.
While the whole flower may not add as much flavor as it will if you make a syrup or an infusion, it will certainly make up for that through what it adds to the presentation.
The delicate flavor and fragrance of edible flowers mean it is especially important to use the correct flavor pairings. There are different ways of pairing flavors, it can either be done in the cocktail itself or when making your syrup. Some interesting flavor combinations:
- Rosemary and lemon
- Lavender and rose
- Chamomile and mint
- Elderflower and lemon
- Elderflower and lavender
- Rose and strawberry
As well as for flavor, when adding a whole flower it can be a good idea to think about colors that complement each other. This can create a striking color combination in your glass.
Buying and storing edible flowers
Where to buy edible flowers
There are a number of options when it comes to buying edible flowers.
The ideal place to buy them is at your local farmers market. Here, as well as having the biggest choice, you will also be able to discuss with the vendors about whether any chemicals or pesticides have been used on the flowers.
If you don’t have a suitable farmer's market nearby, it is also possible to buy edible flowers either at the grocery store or from specialist sites online. When buying online make sure you choose a shop that will ship your flowers to you as soon as possible and in the optimal packaging so your flowers will be as fresh (and therefore as tasty) as possible.
How to store and prepare edible flowers
When it comes to storing edible flowers, it is certainly a case of the quicker you can use them the better!
However, it is possible to make your flowers last if you use the following tips and tricks:
- Store your flowers in plastic containers to reduce the chance of them being crushed.
- Place the flowers on top of a moist paper towel to keep the humidity up stop your flowers from wilting.
- If the flowers need to be cleaned you can remove dirt with a small paintbrush. If needed they can also be dipped in room temperature water.
- Do not rinse them under a tap as this can damage the flowers delicate petals.
- Remove pollen from the flower as it can affect the taste.
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