Edible Flowers of India it’s characteristics and availability

MiXStudio uses edible flowers of India during catering events

My catering blog has an article that talks about food plating and its functions and what’s frivolous. Very little in India consumerism has been exposed on edible flowers,  they are fairly underestimated and somehow carrots or tomatoes are disguised as flowers that’s my take on frivolousness. Especially when there are so many pretty looking colors that translate into even more beautiful flavors than just a flower that tastes like a tomato!

Especially in pre-plated catering while I move to cities my first task gets to who will be my edible flower suppliers and are they available in Goa? If not should I travel with them?? Delhi and Mumbai are easy to source and usually make for great locations that enable me to make a pretty looking canvases out of these beauties.

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Edible Wild Flowers

 

Allium

is from the family of leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives are edible and flavorful!
from the family of garlic, chives have a sweet oniony – garlic flavour mostly white, either strong or flavorful.

Angelica

Beautiful colours that are lavender to blue or deep purple rose, i find the flavouring more like fennel but most document that as licorice,  these are difficult to source
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Arugula Flowers – Image source

Anise hyssop

Again these flowers have subtle anise to licorice flavour.(Not seen them here), but you can see them here

Arugula

Available here if the suppliers are told to, pretty white coloured flowers with a peppery flavour just like its leaves, usually with dark brown to black veins running from the centre, they can white, yellow or even purple.

Basil

Most easily available in Delhi & probably the most overused by me during catering events, they make for a great pizza to pasta garnish and also a great companion for steamed fish. Colour ranges from whitish to pinkish lavender, the flavour of these leaves make for a lot milder companion and does better for light flavoured fish…  Have a look at some arrangements here for them

Borage

They taste like cucumber, never seen them here, never tasted them. But the flavours sound interesting! I want to use it for savoury mild flavoured burgers made of fine quality Japanese yellow fin Tuna! Black Sesame burgers!! This is my bucket list flower

Calendula / marigold

Best flower for easy supplies, Calendula blossoms are tangy, peppery,  and spiced — and their vibrant golden color add a dash to any dish. Any wedding catering might just have them, decor guy use them. Grab a few and yes your plate colour is sorted.

Carnations / Dianthus

Be sure to remove the stalk of these flowers, The petals are sweet, but only when trimmed away from the base. The blossoms taste like their sweet, perfumed aromatic flavours. The only flower who’s flavour and aroma matches in tact.. They taste like flowers which is sweetish, unlike the other cousins like Arugula or onion flowers.

 Chamomile

Small pretty petals, more like daisies.. the flowers have a sweet flavor and are mostly found as a tea. Some can be allergic to Chamomile, so using this for large wedding may not be an option!
Chicory Flowers Natural Medicine Flower
Chicory flowers, Image Source

Chicory

Available easily around the South of India, with mildly bitter coffee like flavour,  earthy flavours of chicory is evident in the petals and buds, which can be pickled, my other favorite hobby.. Curing – the function of making flavours more intense than normal or less dense than desired.

Chrysanthemum

Again the local flower shop in most metros can provide you for them. A little bitter, Chrysanthemums come in a rainbow of colors and a range of flavors range from peppery to pungent. Use only the petals. They make for a great colour contrast on

Cilantro (Coriander in India)

You all must have seen the shoots of flowers… Like the leaves, people either love the blossoms or hate them. I’m not that particularly fond of them.. The flowers share the grassy flavor of the herb. Use them fresh as they lose flavours  when heated.

Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat)

Can be sourced from Nagpur and some regions of Himachal. Reminds me of a dear friend who makes the most beautiful Orange Liqueur from Nagpur oranges, Desmond Nazareth , I’ve used them for desserts in Goa & always carried a few bottles too Delhi. Citrus blossoms are sweet and highly aromatic, with bitter undertones. Use Desmondji frugally or they will over-power a dish or dessert..

Dandelion

Not seen them in India would love to Source them some day! You can contact me here if you have any idea
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Dill Flowers – Image Source

Dill

Yellow dill flowers taste much like the leaves itself, use discreetly, it has a strong aroma not many like!

 English Daisy

Probably the best looking petals, & probably not the best tasting petals  — they are mildly bitter — so using them for sweet Indian desserts can off set the bitter flavours

Fennel

Fennel flowers are yellow, sweet flavored like its leaves or seeds, just like the herb and with very cute looks, they’d do best with cottage cheese or a poached fish..

Fuchsia

They can give a subtle punch of acidity towards cheese Tangy fuchsia flowers make a beautiful garnish. Add them to any dish to add a mild acidic flavor, however getting them here in India is a challenge, unless of course your best catering client allows you to fly them in 🙂 Anybody listening?

Hibiscus

Arguably the most common flower in any Indian garden, seen them every where in gardens, societies, also known as the shoe flower.  Used in hibiscus tea, or pickled as jam in the north-east, much like a similar bengali paanch phoron, a tempering masala.

Jasmine

Again, extremely easily available in India and widely used by wedding decorators. These excessively fragrant buds are commonly are used in tea & Indian desserts. I’d personally want to cure them in sweet salty brine and bring in some latent flavours and not let them overpower the dish. Use Jasmine not only for decoration but also as garnish by the best caterers 😉

Lavender

My personal favorite, just how I like my women, Spicy sweet and well perfumed,  these flowers are a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes. Great looks and oomph of characters. The aroma presence so great, it can never go unnoticed on any occasion. The best part is, people or flowers of such character just add up to your brand image.

Mint

A cool breeze of wind is what they are  These beauties are magic!  minimally fragrant & minty. Their intensity varies and spearmint flowers are the best, these can be used in garnishing spring rolls, here an article on how to do t

Nasturtium

A sweet rosy & similar to arugula also the most popular edible flower, nasturtium blossoms are brilliantly colored with a sweet floral flavor. Their seed pod is sweet and spicy  too. Nasturtium flowers can be stuffed, leaves added to salads, pickle their seed buds, and garnish anything you like with it. They will bloom perfectly in Delhi winters, luckily my township gardeners chose them and I can always pluck a few of these!

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Nasturtium Flowers & Leaves Image Source

Rose

Darker the petals, more intense the flavors, the most easily available flower across India, most recognized and well used in Muslim and Mughlai cuisines. Jam’s and drink garnish and of course we all remember Rooh Afza, equally loved and hated by many!

Squash and pumpkin

They can be cooked and used in Bengali and north-east cuisine, they can even be fried.  The stamen of these flowers need to be excluded before use. They add a good flavor to pumpkin with its leaves and flowers. I remember eating them this way and probably with fish head

 Sunflower

Sunflower petals need to be cooked before use and usually the budding flowers are steamed.
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