The birds are singing and flowers are beginning to emerge from the soil. While these beauties are lovely to look at, did you know you can eat flowers too?
Traditionally in pre-Columbian era Mexico, flowers were not only used for decorative purposes, but for food ingredients and in natural remedies as well. As these garnishes/ingredients have grown in popularity in recent years, today we’re looking at the different types of edible flowers grown in Mexico, and in Canada too!
Tetechas (cactus flowers)
These small flowers grow atop large cactuses and are a popular ingredient in central Mexico. They are highly versatile and can be prepared in a soup as a star ingredient, or added to a stew to pump up the flavour.
When the heat begins to rise in the spring, the edible variety of hibiscus (hibiscus sabdariffa) is used in a multitude of ways. It’s distinctly red colour creates a refreshing drink, and makes a striking addition to marinades, sauces, sorbets, jellies, and cocktails. Spanning the gamut of sweet and savoury, this beautiful flower is incorporated in dry form and is an ideal choice for culinary exploration. Added bonus? Jamaica is high in vitamin C!
Flor de calabaz (squash blossoms)
These bright yellow flowers can be prepared in many ways such as by deep frying, steaming, cooking in soups, or used in salad dressings, just to name a few options! For those who are intrigued to explore in the kitchen, squash blossoms can also be found in Canada.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Dahlia. Declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963, this flower is known for its signature scent and is most used in candy and confectionery. The tubers or roots are similar to raw jicama with a crisp and juicy texture, with flavours that range from subtle to flowery like a radish depending on the soil and conditions it was grown in. Dahlia tubers can be eaten raw or cooked and offer a good source of potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin b6.