As if the cakes created by Charlotte from Buttercream and Dreams weren’t pretty enough (see previous posts here, here and here) she came to our spring Rock My Style shoot last week armed with a box of crystalised pansies and violas to decorate her delicious beetroot and chocolate cupcakes for Mother’s Day (stop by this afternoon for the recipe!). We asked her to share her edible flower know-how so you can go forth and prettify your food, including, but not limited to cakes, drinks, salads, soup, even ice cubes.

“Lots of different flowers are safe to use in cooking and food decoration and can look really pretty,” says Charlotte. “You can pick them direct from your garden or there are lots of places you can buy edible flowers. Just watch out for any pesticides that may have been used.”

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Popular (And Super-Pretty!) Flowers To Use In Food

Nasturtiums These are a perennial favorite for summer salads. Easy to grow, they bring an explosion of color to any salad. They are also good stuffed, crystallised, or as a garnish. They have a slight peppery taste – the seed pods are even used as a replacement for peppercorns and capers. The entire plant is edible.

Lavender Ideal for many culinary uses including tea, cookies, syrup, cake decoration, sorbets, ice cream, jelly, jam, custard, wine, vinegar – the list is seemingly endless. Lavender imparts its own flavor, along with slight tones of citrus.

Violets Perfect for adding to a range of food, as well as for decorative purposes. Some ideas include candied violets, violet tea, violet cake and violet syrup. They can be included in salads, vinegar, jelly, butter, or flavoured spreads, or simply used as a plate garnish. Look for “viola odorata” or “sweet violet.”

Rose Petals Renowned for many culinary uses, such as in syrups, decorations on icing, ice cream, dessert garnishes, jellies, jams, flavored butters, ice cubes and more.

Pansies These delicate paper-like flowers are great for adorning salads (including fruit salads!). Other uses include floating on top of soup, decorating desserts and garnishing plates. Pansies have slightly sweet flavor.

Hibiscus Add to salads or use for making syrups and some alcoholic beverages. There are cranberry and citrus notes, but it’s slightly acidic, so use sparingly.

Crystallised Flowers DIY

1. Choose your flowers based on what colours/style you want.
2. Prepare your flowers (see box).
3. Carefully brush the petals with egg white using a paintbrush to give them a light covering.
4. Sprinkle on caster sugar and shake off the excess.
5. Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to dry for a few hours or overnight if possible.
6. The flowers will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container but will start to loose their colour after this.

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{How To Prep Your Flowers}

Harvest The best time is just after the dew has dried, early to mid-morning, or early evening after the heat of the sun has faded, provided that the flowers appear in good condition. Avoid harvesting in the middle of the day as the heat can impair flavour and colour.

Remove stamens and pistil White, pithy parts and any large stamens or pistils are usually bitter and can often be chewy.

Clean Shake the flowers to remove insects, debris, and bits of dirt. Inspect closely to see if the flowers remain dirty and in need of a wash. If so, gently wash with a colander or tea strainer. Use a fine and soft spray of water, as flowers are fragile and bruise easily. If the flower is especially delicate, a brief soak will suffice.

Dry Arrange on paper towels and allow time to air dry.