Many flowers of summer have stopped blooming and you’re wondering how to keep edible flowers on your plate. Take heart! There’s a whole season of delicious blooms still ahead.
Many of your herbs will still be in flower for another month or so, as will squash, okra, nasturtium, and runner beans. If you planted reblooming varieties then a whole new flush of daylily flowers are on their way as well. The first three flowers below will bloom throughout late summer and early fall giving you ample opportunities to invent new dishes! Reblooming daylilies will vary in bloom time from August-September. Gladiolas bloom dependent on when you planted the bulbs – I try to stagger them so as to get blooms summer through fall.
Begonias-tuberous ONLY Begonia x tuberhybrida
The petals have a lemony, citrus taste and a crisp texture. We put them in salads, dip them in yogurt or citrus sauce, and chop them up in fruit salads. CAUTION: they contain oxalic acid so eat in moderation, and any varieties other than Tuberous Begonias are unsafe to eat.
Chrysanthemums Dendranthema x grandiflorum
These have a mild to strong, bitter taste so test yours first before using. We have tossed them in salads and sprinkled them on soups. Cautions: Pyrethrum, a plant based insecticide, is made from the dried flowers of Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium or Chrysanthemum coccineum so avoid those.
Dahlia Dahlia spp.
The sharp, spicy tang of dahlia petals enhances salads and sandwiches, while the substantial whole flowers can be used to float on beverages and to top cakes.
Day Lilies Hemerocallis fulva
The buds and flowers of day lilies vary in taste from sweetly floral, to beany, to slightly metallic depending on variety. Test yours out but do find some to use – these are one of our favorite edible flowers for their taste, beauty and versatility. Make them into a salad, stuff them with soft cheeses or ice cream, or chop them for salads. The buds taste somewhat like a green bean can are wonderful sautéed or baked. CAUTION: Only day lilies are edible.
Gladiolus Gladiolus spp.
We like their mild, lettuce-like taste and texture and use them as a salad base, or stuff them with soft cheeses or sorbet. They make a delightful presentation.
Recipes for Late Summer and Autumn
• 6-8 inch lengths of sage (leaves and flowers on stem)
• Oil or lard
Make your favorite tempura batter, heat oil (peanut or palm) or lard in a deep fryer or deep pan, dip the sage stems in the batter and deep fry them in the oil. Drain on paper towels and serve. Detailed directions can be found in the Japanese Herb Tempura Recipe.
Anise Hyssop Beef Strips
• 1 pound flank steak, cut into strips across the grain
• 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup anise hyssop flowers and leaves, chopped
• 3 Tablespoons scallions, chopped
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 cup chicken broth
• 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch in 2 tsp. water
• More anise hyssop flowers for garnish
Combine the anise hyssop, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sherry. Pour over the steak strips and marinate several hours. Remove the meat from the sauce and reserve the remaining marinade. In a large skillet, heat the oil and stir-fry the meat quickly over medium-high heat until brown. Add the scallions, reserved marinade, and chicken broth and heat through. Stir in the cornstarch mixture until the sauce thickens. Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish with anise hyssop flowers.
• 6 fresh daylily blossoms
• 6 eggs
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 6 fresh sweet basil leaves, chiffonade
• 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
• Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the eggs with the cream, adding salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the herbs. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat, then pour the egg mixture into the pan. Gently press the daylily blossoms into the eggs creating a pleasing pattern. Cook on medium until the egg just starts to set on the sides and bottom. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, cut into wedges and serve.