We really like the idea of fully using our plants and flowers. And with the new year, a new me, a new way of doing things just seem like the right time to talk a bit about flowers beyond just looking pleasing to the eye, or smelling good.
Using flowers in food and for health benefits have been a practice since the middle ages. With industrialisation, this common practice, became not so common, as people tended to buy ready-mades that are easy and sometimes even cheaper.
Over the recent COVID pandemic, we became even more aware of how being self-sustainable is increasingly important, to our little island. So the best and also our favourite way to introduce food sustainability is to celebrate the Lunar New Year with FOOD (& drinks) – and how we can go beyond the pretty faces of flowers we find commonly in our space.
With their GORGEOUSLY big blooms that are perennial, the Hibiscus is widely grown and cultivated by many. And while most of us probably grow it for ornamental reasons, the hibiscus can also be used in food AND have medicinal benefits!
Sure, you can eat the flower straight from the plant if you ever find yourself peckish while gardening (do make sure you are using organic fertiliser!). But you can definitely dry the bloom and steep it as a tea, boil and make a jam or freshly peeled and sprinkled on a salad.
Studies indicate that the hibiscus helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Not just a pretty face, but an edible one too! Did you know that ALL Roses out there are edible? And the more pleasant they smell, the tastier they'll be. But, do make sure you only eat the petals, as the leaves and stems don't taste very good. If you do try though, let us know!
While you can also eat rose petals raw in vegetable or fruit salads, you can also dry them and mix them into your breakfast muesli/ granola.
A more common way we see rose petals would also be to infuse them into your tea, but a FUN way to serve your guests this festive season, would also to add chopped petals to sugar or butter to give a bit of a zhush!
We hear that roses help to reduce anxiety and increase relaxation.
The Pansy may be cute and small, and comes in many many colours, they also come with light, refreshing and mild floral flavour. They not only look good as decorative element in your dishes, you can also candy the petals!
Pansies contain several compounds known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Perhaps one of the most common edible flower (aside from chrysanthemum), the Chamomile is often used to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
Resembling little daisies, the chamomile is much smaller and have a lightly sweet and earthy flavour. We typically boil the flowers in water / liquid to extract the flavours and healing properties. Usually dried before steeping, you can also use them fresh!
Aside from teas, you can add the chamomile flower to baked goods and desserts and even infuse them in oils.
The Honeysuckle has been a vital component in Chinese medicinal practices for centuries. Their flowers and extracts are eaten or applied topically to treat various inflammatory conditions.
You can also use the honeysuckle (as its name suggests) – to make a fragrant tea or flavourful syrup. Using this to naturally sweeten up your tea, or even your breakfast yoghurt!
Do note that the berries of some varieties may be toxic if consumed in big quantities. The best would be to stick to just the flower and nectar :)
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If you are growing your plants and florals for consumption, ALWAYS make sure to use organic fertiliser and pesticide to avoid ingesting any harmful chemicals. If you are purchasing your flowers, make sure to check with your florist to make sure that no chemical fertiliser or pesticides have been used.
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Let us know if you want us to do a blog on how to infuse your teas or make a floral syrup!
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