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Harvesting and conservation of edible flowers

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Harvest of nasturtiums whose flowers, leaves and buds are edible.
Photo: Espace pour la vie
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Parts of a flower

Picking edible flowers is ideally made early in the morning, on a beautiful day, once the dew has evaporated or early in the evening, just before sunset. Excessive humidity may discolor the flower and even produce loss of flavor. The heat and the rays of the sun can also dry the flowers and reduce tastiness.

Harvest stages

  1. Shake each flower to dislodge insects hidden in the petal folds.
  2. Remove the stamen.
  3. Wash the flowers under a fine jet of water or in a strainer placed in a large bowl of water. Drain them and allow them to dry on absorbent paper.

Tips : The flowers will retain their odor and color providing they dry quickly and that they are not exposed to direct sunlight.

Warning! It is important not to use flowers harvested from plants that are treated with pesticides. Never consume flowers purchased from the florist.

Preserving edible flowers

  1. Put the flowers on moist paper.
  2. Place together in a hermetically-sealed container or in a plastic bag.

This way, certain species can be preserved in the refrigerator for a week.

Tips for using them in the kitchen

If the flowers are limp, they can be revitalized by floating them on icy water for a few moments. Don't leave too long or else they will lose some of their flavor.

Cut the stems before using the flower. The petals of a few flowers sometimes have a bitter taste. This bitterness can be reduced by blanching in boiling water. That is the case for chrysanthemums.

Like cooking herbs, these edible flowers must be added to the dish at the very last moment.

Bon appétit!

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