Cooking and drying edible herbs. The bounty that the Earth provides is amazing. Every year we learn more about the healing properties of the flowers and herbs that are all around us.
Some of that knowledge was known in days past and discarded by “modern society.” However, our ancestors wasted nothing and through a process of elimination, discovered which flowers and herbs could be eaten.
This knowledge has been passed down through the centuries and eventually made it into the earliest cookbooks. Many of these are free online, so you can discover popular dishes from the Middle Ages, or how Shakespeare would have dined.
A world of Flavor
There is a world of cuisines to explore, each with their own herb combinations. Italian food, Indian, Thai, Chinese… learning about the herbs and spices used can help you add variety to your weekly meals, without expensive restaurants or takeaway.
Edible flowers can be used to add color, fragrance, and flavor to salads, soups, entrees, desserts, and drinks.
Herbs for Soups and Stews
Soups and stews tend to also be very hearty and filling. They are ideal during chilly weather. Chances are you won’t overeat either, because the food will be so flavorful and satisfying.
The herbs you use will depend on the main ingredients in the soup, but you can’t go wrong with seasonings like sage, rosemary, and thyme. These will enhance the flavor of food.
It’s a simple step to add these flowers to your dishes and doing so will change how you feel when you sit down to meals. Edible flowers take you to the next level, and suddenly their colors and forms are all it takes to make you a gourmet cook in the eyes of family and friends. Privately you can afford a little giggle…because all you did was sprinkle some petals in the salad, float some blossoms in lemonade or decorate dessert with pretty flowers. Tammi Hartung, Homegrown Herbs
Flowers for Infusions, Drinks, and Garnishes
You can add flowers to ice cubes to add beauty and flavor to a pitcher of drinks, or a platter of cheese. Your salads can take on new and vibrant colors with the help of nasturtiums, calendula, chives, and other edible flowers. Infused vinegar or honey becomes something special with the addition of edible flowers.
Learn more from our article Edible Flowers for a Colorful and Flavorful Landscape.
Dehydrating Edible Flowers
- Select fresh flowers that are in their prime and have not opened completely. Check them for damage, dirt, and pests and give them a gentle spritz with cool water if they need it.
- Clip off the stems so the flower heads will lay flat on the dehydrator trays
- Arrange the flowers on the dehydrator tray, making sure that you spread them out a bit. They need airflow and should not touch other. This helps to ensure even drying. Try to sort your flowers into groups based on their type. Full flowers like chives require a longer amount of time to dry out while single petal varieties only take a couple of hours.
- Dry your edible flower heads in the range of 100F – 120F. Drying takes only a few hours – from 2 to 5 hours – so be sure to check them periodically to measure their progress.
Store dehydrated edible flowers in a canning jar with a tight fitting lid. Don’t pack them in too tightly or they may break into pieces. Before storing, make sure that the flowers are completely dry. Any moisture in them still will cause the growth of mildew and they’ll have to be discarded.
Your edible flowers will store well in a cool, dark pantry for up to a year.
You may be interested in growing your own herbs for delicious and nutritious herb blends, or to bring variety to your food storage. Either way, herbs are an essential part of our daily diet.
Our online course, Growing Herbs at Home: A guide to growing, preserving & using culinary herbs, is available at a discount until the end of January. Use code LOVEHERBS to get $8 off the course. That means that for UNDER $20 you can be growing, dehydrating and using herbs in your kitchen every day.
Good cooks know that when it comes to herbs, there is nothing better than those that are clipped fresh from the garden and preserved in your own kitchen!
You’ll learn everything you need to know to be successful with herbs. Take a look and see if it is a good fit for you.
Shared with: Tuesday’s With a Twist