Litha_Header2

 

 

 

Midsummer or Litha

 

A Summer Comfort Kit


Oh No! Don't Eat the Daisies!

 

Making and Using a Divining Rod

 

Litha Correspondences


Litha / Summer Solstice Ritual


History of Litha (MidSummer)

 

A Song for Mid Summer

 

The Midsummer Bonfire

 

Midsummer Specials

 

Oh No! Don’t Eat the Daisies!

Hand crafted Dowsing Rods        Willow's Summer Kit

from Angela Jeffreys,                                                                      
dowsing rods 150 pix high      willow products_270 wide

(Click here or on Pictures for more details)

 

Since ancient times flowers have been used to enhance our culinary experience. Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures all used them, as did the Romans and Renaissance cooks. The 14th century idea of a royal feast would include peony roots, carnations and dianthus. Sweet omelets called Tansies, were coloured with violets or with cowslips and marigolds. Edible flowers were very popular in Victorian times, after which they were forgotten for many years.

Today, edible flowers are the latest news in gourmet circles. They add elegance, originality and charm to our food, and they’re easy to grow at home. They can also be purchased at some stores and farmers’ markets. Flowers have a good range of flavours and they can be prepared in many ways. Unless instructed otherwise, use only the petals - some people are allergic to pollen. Small flowers and blossoming herbs can be served intact. Introduce flowers gradually, and use in small quantities to avoid aggravating allergies and/or digestive problems. A word of warning - NOT ALL FLOWERS ARE EDIBLE. In fact, some are POISONOUS - make sure they are safe to eat. Check at least two sources, and if in doubt, don't use it. Don’t assume that flowers served at restaurants are guaranteed edible. Some may not be. Oh! and never use fertilizers, pesticides or plant foods on flowers you plan to eat. Don’t eat flowers from florists or garden centres. They may have been treated with unsafe pesticides.

Flowers are best picked in the morning - at their most succulent. If possible, grow them yourself so that you’re sure they haven’t been exposed to pesticides or roadside grime. In any case, clean them thoroughly before use.

One of the nicest ways to enjoy the colour and flavour of flowers at midsummer, is to serve them in a salad. It will certainly give your guests something to talk about! Use a mixture of flowers and herbs - pretty, healthy and tasty! Here are a few to choose from, just to get you going,

Alliums (Onions, garlic etc.) The flowers tend to have a stronger flavour than the leaves. Eat both in salads. The leaves can be cooked with other vegetables in soups, etc.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) Pale lavender to deep rose flowers with a celery-like flavour. Young leaves and shoots have a stronger taste and can be added to a green salad or made into a tea. Good with fish. Angelica stems may be spread with butter and eaten raw.
Apple Blossoms (Malus sp) Apple blossoms have a delicate flavour and aroma. Nice with fruit dishes and can be candied for a garnish. NOTE: Eat in moderation. The seeds are poisonous
Arugula (Eruca vesicaria), or rocket. A salad green with a nutty, peppery-radish flavour, which intensifies as it matures. The small, white or yellow flowers have dark purple veins and a dark centre. They taste similar to the leaves. Use in salads.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) The tiny white, pale pink, or lavender flowers on green or purple stems should be picked just before use. Toss whole blooms and leaves into salads or make herb vinegar. They taste lemony or minty like the leaves, but milder. Sprinkle over salad or pasta.
Bee Balm / Bergamot (Monarda didyma) The leaves have a soft citrus taste - like Earl Gray Tea. The red flowers have a minty flavour. Use both leaves and petals in fruit and green salads.
Borage (Borago officinalis) The young leaves and azure blue petals lend a hint of cucumber-melon to iced drinks sorbets, chilled soups, and salads. Pull out the hairy sepals in the centre.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Pot Marigold. Sprinkle the thin orange-gold petals on salads, soups, pasta or rice. Mildly tangy to peppery. When cooked, they’re strongly acrid.
Carnation, Clove-Pink, Dianthus (Dianthus caryophyllus) Blooms can be pink, rose, red, or white, with fringed edges. Eat only the petals. Cut off the bitter white parts the base, and use them in fruit salads, vinegars, or syrups. They have a sweet spicy taste but can be bitter.
Chamomile (Chamaemelum noblis) Small flowers with a sweet, apple flavour. NB: Ragweed sufferers may be allergic to it. Use in moderation.
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) A feathery herb with delicate anise flavoured white flowers, Leaves and flowers may be cooked or eaten raw in salads.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Eat the petals or buds. It has a pleasant, earthy taste.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Tiny, deep pink or purple pompoms with an onion flavour and aroma. Use the leaves as well. Pick right before using.
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium) Can be red, white, yellow or orange. Remove the bitter flower base and use petals only. Blanch first. They’re tangy and slightly bitter, ranging from faint pepper to mild cauliflower. Scatter petals on salads. Use leaves to flavour vinegar.
Cilantro/Coriander (Coriander sativum) Use leaves, seeds and flowers raw as the strong herbal flavour fades when cooked. Sprinkle onto salads and cold vegetable dishes.
Clover, Red (Trifolium sp) Sweet, anise flavour. Break into florets and add sparingly to salads. (Add a little chopped mint). Raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.
Cornflower /Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus) Use the blue, purple, pink or white petals or whole bloom as a garnish, add to salads or steam. They have a sweet, spicy, cucumber flavour and a feathery texture.
Daisy (Bellis perennis) The flowers have a mildly bitter taste. Petals or small, whole daisies are used in salads or as a garnish. The buds may be pickled.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) Young flowers have a honey-sweet flavour. Use in salads, cook with their leaves, or pickle them. Mature flowers are bitter. The buds are tasty raw, steamed, or made into wine. Young leaves may be steamed, or tossed in salads.
Day Lily (Hemerocallis species) Use as a garnish (petals close at night). Sweet melon taste and a chewie texture. Cut away the bitter white base. Stuff like squash blossoms. Eat the shoots like asparagus. Sprinkle petals into a salad. NB: May act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation.
Dill (Anethum) The little yellow flowers are tangy, like the leaves, but stronger. Use them as the herb in salads, or to season soups, seafood, dressings, and dips.
Elderflower (Sambucus sp) The creamy blossoms have a delicate, sweet taste. Pick on a warm day for best flavour. Discard stems. Add to salads NB: Most parts of this plant are mildly toxic!
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Yellow flowers with a mild licorice taste. Use in desserts or soups.
Fuchsia (Fuchsia X hybrida) An ideal garnish with a slightly acidic flavor
Gladiolus (Gladiolus sp) Remove anthers. Add to salads or cook a day lily. Flowers have a vaguely lettuce-like flavour but make nice receptacles for spreads etc. Toss petals in salads.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) Use in drinks, eat raw, steamed, or pickled. Cranberry flavour with a hint of citrus. Use petals in salads or as garnish. The flower can be dried to make a tea.
Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) Both the leaves and the fuzzy, mauve flowers add a hint of anise to green or fruit salads. They make attractive garnishes.
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) Flowers are sweet. Use in salads, as a garnish or float in drinks.
Johnny-Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) The yellow, white and purple blooms have a mild winter-green flavour and can be used in salads, to decorate cakes, or served with soft cheese.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Sweet, with hint of lemon. Flowers are good in vinegars, or salads. They look and taste good in a glass of champagne, or with chocolate cake, or ice cream.
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) Small, creamy, citrus-scented blossoms. Leaves and flowers can be made into a tea, and used in custards and flans.
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Eat these in salads, or crystallize to top a dessert. Slightly bitter with a lemony taste and floral, pungent overtones.
Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia; T. signata) Use the spicy citrus leaves and gold petals in salads.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) The tiny pink to lavender flowers are milder than the leaf.
Mint (Mentha sp) The flowers taste minty. Use in drinks, cool soup, and fruit salads.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) The yellow, orange, red, or maroon flowers have a peppery taste - like honey-mustard watercress. Use the leaves and petals in salads. Pickle the buds.
Orange Bergamot Small, pink-white flowers with a citrus-mint taste. Use in salads or vinegars.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Tiny rose or white flowers are sweeter and milder than the leaves.
Pansies and Violas (Viola X wittrockiana) The petals are sweet with a grassy taste and velvet texture. Use in salads, fruit, desserts, and soups. Whole flowers carry a wintergreen overtone.
Pea Blossoms (Pisum species) The white flowers of edible peas are sweet with a delicate, pea flavour and crunchy texture. NB: Ornamental sweet peas are poisonous. Do not eat.
Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) The petals may be added to salads or floated in drinks.
Plumeria or Frangipani Serve the honey-sweet flowers in a salad, candy them, or make a tea.
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) The yellow flower tastes sweet, but bland. Scatter on a salad.
Radish Flowers (Raphanus sativus) Pink, white or yellow flowers with a spicy, radish flavour. Good in salads. The shoots and bright red or white stalks are tasty sautéed or in salads.
Rose (Rosa rugosa; R. gallica officinalis) Use petals in salads, steep in vinegar, or dry for tea. Clip the bitter white part from the base first. Flavours vary, but generally sweet, with strawberry, green apple, mint or spice tones. Dark ones have stronger flavour. Use miniatures to garnish ice cream and desserts, and sprinkle large petals onto desserts or salads, or freeze in ice cubes.
Rosemary The flowers taste like the leaves, but milder. Use right after picking.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) The violet, pink, or white flowers taste like the leaves - earthy and pungent - but sweeter. Nice sprinkled over salads or used as a garnish.
Savory (Satureja hortensis) These tiny purple flowers are hot, peppery and thyme-like.
Scarlet Runner Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) Use the bright red blooms in soups or salads.
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) Flowers are tart and lemony. Use in salads and sauces, or on pizza.
Squash, Pumpkin, Zucchini Young flowers can be stuffed, baked, grilled, or batter-fried.
Stock (Matthiola incana) White, cream, pink, red, or purple flowers with a warm spicy flavour.
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) The flowers are like sweet, nutty, vanilla.
Thyme (Thymus spp.) Add the tender flowering tips to salad or serve with fruit.
Violets (Viola species) Eat flowers and leaves in salad. Flowers have a sweet, perfumed flavour - the leaves taste like spinach when cooked.
Yucca (Yucca sp) The fleshy, white flower can be braised, battered, or roasted. Trim stamens first. In spring, use the petals in salads. It is sweet with a hint of artichoke and a crunchy texture.

By Sylvia Richards 5th June 2010

NOTE: The writer is not a medical professional. The information in this article and on the Spiritual Haven web site is NOT medical advice. Consult a trained doctor or herbalist before attempting any treatment. We are not responsible for any misuse of information posted on this site.

 

 

© 2010 Sylvia Richards www.yourspiritualhaven.com All rights reserved.