FLOWER EATER

Calendula Flower

Have you ever eaten flowers? I mean on purpose, as part of a meal. Perhaps a glittering, crystallized violet atop a luxury chocolate or some pansy flowers on your restaurant dessert? Eating flowers is, as I have recently mused, hugely underrated and something that everyone should try, at least once.

This all started with a confession. When I was a schoolgirl, in my early teens, I was sent to stand by the maths teachers’ desk for creating a commotion during a lesson. The trouble was, the reason there was an outburst was because the girl sitting next to me had been rocking back on her chair and overbalanced so the leg of her chair planted itself firmly on my foot. I squealed in pain, the teacher turned from where he was writing on the blackboard and refused to hear my explanation.

I was entirely miffed at being disciplined for something that was not my fault. It was spring and there was a vase of daffodils on the teacher’s desk. I reached over, took one out and slowly began eating it; in some kind of protest, I suppose. I was three-quarters of the way through my impromptu snack when the maths teacher turned to see what the rest of the class were laughing at. The resulting detention I received was worth it.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Daffodils, by the way, are poisonous and I’m lucky that I suffered no unpleasant consequences other than an hour-long, after school incarceration.

Narcissus and daffodils (as well as tulips) rarely cause fatalities, but they do contain toxic alkaloids that may cause dizziness, abdominal pain and upset, and occasionally, convulsions if eaten.

The Poison Pant Patch

I owned up to this childhood folly a few weeks ago, when I was chatting with some of the folks who rock up for UK Gift Hour every Saturday and Sunday on Twitter. It’s a great resource for anyone who creates, sells and/or is looking for indie gift ideas and the banter is ever-present. You should come and join us and marvel at some of the unsung creativity there is out there. Beaded trees that look as if they came straight out of a fairy tale, needle-felted bears with the sweetest personalities (the creator of these is the reason you are reading this blog post), fabulous creations from mysterious sea glass, traditional crafts like folk art painting and then there’s me – in awe of all the talent, creativity and shiny things. Oh! The shiny things!

Anyway, I digress. Aside from comedic interludes, eating flowers is not actually all that alien to me. My mother’s friend (appropriately named Marygold) introduced us to petals in salads at a very young age and my mum would often take us out on walks and show us what woodland and hedgerow plants could be eaten. Foraging is a great deal of fun and we’ve probably all done it (even without realising) – I doubt there is anyone who has not discovered a bramble, bursting with juicy blackberries and arrived home with purple-stained fingers and dripping pockets (our poor mothers…)

Bramble bush with ripe blackberries

If you are wondering, at this point, what on earth flower-eating has to do with skincare – don’t worry, there is a connection but first, let’s look at some ways that flowers can be included in our diets.

We actually do use flowers in our kitchens every day but in a form that we might not immediately recognise, when we are adding herbs and spice to our food, for example. But, it probably goes without saying that you do need to exercise some care and caution if you are thinking of introducing more diverse examples of edible flowers to your gastronomy adventures. You need to be absolutely sure that you have identified each plant correctly and that you are not about to ingest something that will make you unwell – like (ahem) daffodils.

Daisy and Speedwell

Here are some practical considerations from the Royal Horticultural Society:

When collecting flowers for eating, keep the following in mind;

  • Accurate identification of flowers is essential – if you are in doubt, don’t eat
  • Pick young flowers and buds on dry mornings, before the sun becomes too strong, so the colour and flavours will be intense
  • Use flowers immediately for best results or refrigerate in a plastic bag for a couple of days. Dried or frozen flowers are best used in infusions or cooked
  • Generally, only the petals are used, so discard stamens, pistil and calyx of large flowers like hollyhocks, roses, lilies and hibiscus. The bitter ‘heel’ at the base of the petal should be removed
  • Petals of daisies, borage and primroses can easily be separated from the calyx
  • Smaller flowers in umbels like fennel and dill can be cut off and used whole

Whether you use them as an edible garnish or a combined ingredient, you can add flowers to salads, drinks, desserts, baked items (one of my favourite recipes is Mary Berry’s Lavender Shortbread Biscuits) and main courses – it’s really up to your imagination and sense of adventure.

If you are familiar with Temple Spa products then you will know that they are inspired by the Mediterranean lifestyle, including the flora, fauna and food. The list of natural ingredients (including flowers) that we use in our products is impressive and includes: lavender, rose, sunflower and dandelion.

The people who give you their food give you their heart

César Chávez

Temple Spa employ food technology in their product development, so when our founder, Liz Warom was chatting with culinary queen, Nigella Lawson about IN THE BEGINNING she was convinced there must be some kind of kitchen magic going on and, she was right!

📹  ⏩ 1:52 / 2:15
Q: “How do you create that product? There’s gotta be a chef or a cook that is behind that product.” — Nigella Lawson
A: “Well, it is food technology.” — Temple Spa

IN THE BEGINNING Deep Cleansing Melt is a Temple Spa product I simply cannot imagine being without and is freshly made – every day of the week!

in_the_beginning_60g_carton_deep_cleansing_melt_june_2016_het2319_1[1]IN THE BEGINNING
Deep Cleansing Melt
A hand-blended facial in a jar!
Regular Size: £30.00

Some of the floral ingredients it contains are marigold and lavender which are both flowers that I adore, have definitely eaten and will of course continue to use on my skin.

But, if you are going to stay with the tradition of sending flowers, rather than eating or wearing them, then I leave you with one of my favourite infographics of all time Ava’s Flowers’ Floriography for Unpleasant People because, you never know when you might need such sage advice. (Sage, get it? It’s a flowering herb – yeah, OK. I’ll get my coat…)

Do let me know if you have tried adding flowers to your diet and if you have a favourite flower-inclusive recipe, like the one below from Sem S. Purba, then please let me know!

Alor Kecil has turned me into a flosivore aka flower eater (‘flos’: flower + ‘voro’: to swallow)…I want to share this very tasty flowers recipe.

THEDIVINGCOMEDY

Stir Fried Banana Flowers, Papaya Flowers and Chayote

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