Have you ever tried a whipped butter infused with fresh chives, dill and the petals of a rosa rugosa flower? No? Well making it yourself is likely easier than you imagine.
That’s probably why Jeri Woodhouse’s introduction into making food with edible flowers was a full house on Saturday afternoon.
The workshop, part of Hallockville Museum Farm’s “Preserving the Harvest,” was taught at Woodhouse’s commercial kitchen on Cox Lane in Cutchogue where she runs her business “A Taste of the North Fork.”
Rosa rugosa, pansies, violas, geraniums, begonias, English daisies and calendula are all great options to use when making food with flowers, Woodhouse said.
“The reason I choose these was for the color,” she said of the varieties used in Saturday’s class.
The class learned to make butter, sugar, goat cheese, brie and edible cake toppers with flowering plants grown right here on the North Fork.
“I’m interested in eating what is available out here on the East End,” said participant Monique Singh-Roy, who runs yourpotluck.com, an East End food blog. “The more unusual, the better.”
Woodhouse recommends the following pointers when selecting flowers:
1. First know that you can only eat flowers that you know are edible. Some flowers are poisonous.
2. Eat only flowers that have been grown organically. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers.
3. If you have hay fever, asthma or allergies, do not eat flowers.
4. Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road.
5. Remove pistils and stamens. Eat only the petals.
6. There are many varieties of any one flower. Flowers taste different when grown in different locations.
7. Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new food to a baby — one at a time and in small quantities.
Read on for four ways to incorporate the edible flowers into food.
Woodhouse recommends picking the flowers in the morning after the dew has evaporated, but before the sun has dried out any essential oils. Soak the flowers in salt water to draw out any insects. Rinse them in fresh water and spread the petals on a paper towel to dry.
Remove all stamens and pistils. Flowers stay fresh about two to three days while refrigerated, but its best to use them as soon as possible.
To make edible flower butter, dice 1/2 cup of petals mixed with herbs like dill, chives and lemon verbena. Mix together in a food processor with one stick of unsalted butter. Remove the mixture with a cake batter spatula and serve.
Flower Flavored Sugar
Layer one inch of fine sugar in a mason jar. Lay petals on tops. Keep making layers until the jar is filled, making sure the top layer is sugar. Screw on the lid and leave for about one month.
Don’t worry too much about the exact flower to sugar ratio, Woodhouse said.
“You can use your eye. A lot of this is visual,” she said.
Brie Decorated With Flowers
Heat one cup of wine and a quarter of an ounce of gelatin in a pan until it thickens. Use the mixture as an adhesive to decorate a piece of brie with edible flowers. Apply a second coat once dry.
Goat Cheese Roll
Dice a handful of petals and herbs. Lay the herb mixture on a piece of parchment paper. Roll a goat cheese log over the mixture and serve.
Mix one egg white with two to three drops of 100 proof vodka. Paint one side of the flower with the egg white mixture and coat in fine sugar. Flip the flower over and repeat. Let dry on parchment paper. Dry in a cool, dark spot away from the sun.
Use as a garnish on cake or cupcakes.
“This will last six months in an air tight container,” Woodhouse said.