Flowers are an absolutely invaluable aspect of styling a wedding. Floral arrangements in particular play such a big role in crafting the look of any celebration, but what about taking things a step further and incorporating edible flowers into your food and cocktail hour? A little bit of know-how and a venue that will cooperate with your plans is all you really need to create an incredibly pretty floral food or drinks display that will really make jaws drop. We’ve used edible florals a few times now and honestly, the hardest part was sourcing them- in Ireland anyway. After that, you can’t really go wrong. It’s also worth remembering that fruit and herbs are just as pleasing to the eye and come without having to check, double and triple check that they are safe to eat. As a general rule with flowers, stick to the petals. They are prettier, usually the safest part and can be sugared for desserts if you are a bit hesitant to serve them up au natural.

Using Edible FlowersUsing Edible Flowers

Images: Kwestia Smaku | Keiko Oikawa

EDIBLE FLOWER TYPES

Here are a few of the edible flowers we have come across and a guide to what they taste like.

Nasturtium:  Nasturtium comes in a variety of colours and has a very subtle, savoury taste that is probably more suited to salads than sweet cocktails or desserts.

Viola: Violas look very pretty and can be used as a garnish in cocktails and salads or frozen in ice. They have a sweeter taste making them good for desserts.

Rose: The rose tastes as sweet as it sounds and is a favourite garnish on desserts and cocktails.

Mallow: We love the look of this pale flower and the leaves can be used as a sweet garnish even though their flavour is quite mild.

Impatiens: Impatiens are sweet tasting and great for floating in cocktails. They come in a beautiful range of colours too.

Hibiscus: Slightly tangy in flavour and a beautiful colour, so these are one of our favourites. The hibiscus flower is often compared to the cranberry so that should give you an idea of how versatile it is.

Pansies: These float beautifully on cocktails- some say they make them look too good to drink! There isn’t a whole load of flavour from them (possibly overwhelmed in cocktails by the alcohol).

Using Edible FlowersUsing Edible Flowers

Images: Cupcakes & Macarons | Marla Meridith

HOW TO USE EDIBLE FLOWERS

For weddings and small parties, you can garnish salads with fresh flowers. Desserts also look great with fresh, dried and sugared petals and for cocktails, a single floating flower is just so pretty. Chill wine and champagne on flowers frozen in ice or have the bar serve flowered ice cubes in signature cocktails- or even water. If you are going to go for it though and use edible flowers, don’t be shy- more is more!

AVAILABILITY

Edible flowers can be difficult to source at home, let alone for your wedding abroad. Ask your venue or caterers first whether they can supply them and try locate gourmet food stores in the area. Our advice would be- don’t count on getting them but treat it as a huge bonus if you can. Fruit and herbs will almost definitely be easier to locate abroad.

TIPS

✈ Only use flowers bought packaged as edible flowers from the shops. Don’t use flowers from a florist as they will have been treated in a way as to preserve the flowers for longer and will therefore be toxic when ingested.

✈ Examine the flowers carefully to make sure they haven’t been eaten by insects already.

✈ Just prior to using flowers or petals in salad dunk them in ice water to freshen them.

Using Edible Flowers

Image: Green Kitchen Stories

WARNING

Some flowers are toxic and very dangerous to eat so do your homework before using them! This guide to edible flowers is very useful as it highlights flowers that are classed as edible, what they taste like and most importantly, associated warnings.

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