30+ flowers pop
That will make your salads
We caught onto flowers when we ran out of tomatoes. It was an unlikely substitute, and at the time I was thinking colour rather than flavour, wandering the garden for inspiration. I spotted a clump of violas, picked them, and sprinkled them over our salad. Magic. A simple salad transformed.
I have never been much of a flower picker. Ask me to arrange flowers in a vase and I panic. But even a person with zero flower arranging skills can work magic with a few edible flowers. I usually pick flowers in advance and store them in a sealed plastic container in the fridge, then sprinkle them over greens just before serving. It really is that simple.
Garnishing food with flowers brings it to life. Something in the translucent sheen of the petals makes them ‘pop’ with colour on the plate. Diners in the 18th and 19th centuries, without the benefit of electric lighting, knew this. They esteemed flowers for their luminous qualities, with nasturtium described as an excellent colour for candlelight. Our dinner guests are not so informed and invariably they do a double take. “What are those? Can you eat them? Are you sure?” It’s fun watching their faces as they eat, and then the conversation is away and I find myself teaching a spot of botany. Often they want to go out into the garden with me to identify and pick them. Sometimes it takes a fresh point of view to stumble onto something new. A friend visiting to celebrate my husband’s birthday was let loose on the cake decoration. Her wander through the garden resulted in a cake decorated with tiny, whiskered viola faces. Lovely, and it took all of 10 minutes.