Edible Flowers Make Breakfast Special

Presentation is everything, well almost everything. The quality
of the actual food trumps presentation, but great food poorly presented is a
missed opportunity to impress. I am often guilty of this. I put so much effort,
hard work, and thought into a dish or baked good and then just put it on a
plate or slide it into a basket.  I am
making a greater effort to stop, and actually think about that first look at
the table, how the guest sees it, the guest who has not been involved in its
creation for the last hour or more. 

Bee balm, coriander, dill, peppermint, nasturtium, pansies, begonia, and day lily’s


Flowers are a good go-to. Place a nasturtium in the corner,
or sprinkle a few pansies across the plate. All good, but there are a few
things to remember as we walk through the garden plucking away.

Rule #1 is paramount. The flower must be edible.  Many blooms look great on a plate, but if it
is there, it should not harm the diner if eaten.  I have been served many a plate that has had
beautiful flowers accenting it that were not edible. True, 95% of the people
will just put them to the side, appreciate the beauty for what it is and not
eat them, but there is always Joe, a fellow at our breakfast table a few years
ago, who asked me as I came past the table if the flower on his plate was good
to eat. It was a begonia, and I said, yep, they are actually wonderful. His
reply was that it tasted good but I thought I ought to ask. Wow. Really? What
if I had said, um no, it actually causes gastric upset but it looks great
doesn’t it?

So. Edible is mandatory! 
That eliminates the likes of
calla lilies, yarrow, lily of the valley, larkspur, bleeding heart, and
azaleas.  Today, with Google, it is easy
to check to make sure what you plan to use is not toxic.


Rule #2 is just as important. Make sure that you are using
flowers grown without pesticides. Most commercially grown flowers are loaded
with insecticide and pesticide, all things we don’t want on a plate with food.
The best option is to buy flowers from an organic farm, or raise the flowers in
your kitchen garden or even on a window sill.

ready for the fridge  

Rule #3 Make sure they are bug-free. Ants, earwigs and bugs
of all kinds like to live between the petals of flowers. The last thing you
want is something crawling out from between the leaves during breakfast! Using
a fine spray to wash them is a good idea. Some you can actually wash in a water
bath with a bit of chlorine bleach.  I
find day lilies to be the worst for bugs and always wash them well.

The usual edible flowers that we all think of are pansies,
roses, nasturtiums, chamomile flowers, and the edible orchids — http://www.ionopsis.com/edible_orchids.htm — but with a little research it becomes apparent that
the list of edibles is really long.
Some suggestions that are, depending on where you live,
relatively easy to come by and also fun on the plate are:
Day Lilies: Remove the stamen and fill with chicken salad, tuna
salad or an egg scramble
Pea shoots
Tuberous begonia
Bee Balm stamens: In Switzerland we would collect these and
make a syrup by boiling them with sugar and water. It made a great flavoring
for sparkling water or Prosecco, but they are equally beautiful scattered on a
plate or tossed with a salad
Nasturtiums are so easy to grow and bright in color as well
as peppery in flavor, and are great tossed in a salad

fruit plate with sugar frosted blackberries, mango and blueberries.Nasturtium garnish  
Dianthus  are beautiful. Sometimes called pinks they work
well on a plate or in a salad.
Hibiscus and Rose of Sharon:- Hibiscus can be huge and
therefore dramatic. The smaller ones come in a variety of colors and work well
on a plate. They are beautiful brushed with pasteurized egg white, sprinkled
with sanding sugar and left to dry, then used as a garnish for French toast. Be
careful with the bright red ones, they stain.
Blossoms from herbs are great, too – dill, cilantro,
rosemary, and even parsley.   Chive
blossoms are a beautiful compliment to a savory frittata.
Once you get started you will find it is fun to be a “plate
artist” and incorporate all kinds of blooms in breakfast, lunch and

Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast Inn
Debbie Mosimann
The Lititz, PA Broad

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