[a medicinal cooking blog: using food as medicine to treat whatever may ail you]

Monday, June 21, 2010

Edible and Medicinal Flowers

(Pink/Red Peony, also known as Chi Shao in Chinese Medicine)

This summer I've been obsessed with flowers, not just placing them in a vase or growing them for aesthetic purposes, but eating them. They also just so happen to be quite medicinal, besides being very tasty. In Chinese Medicine, flowers treat an array of ailments such as acne, red eyes, high blood pressure, colds, flu's, regulating menstruation, dizziness, and the list goes on. Chi Shao (the aforementioned red peony) increases blood circulation and treats dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, abdominal pain, and swollen masses. Usually, Chi Shao is used in conjunction with other herbs in a formula. There are many other flowers, as you will see below, that you can use in your daily cooking and brewing. Onion flowers, much like onions and garlic, are excellent for moving the blood and treating conditions such as high blood pressure. I made an onion flavored vinaigrette with them to drizzle over salads or even a meat dish. Flowers are interesting because they sometimes start sweet and then they evolve into a different flavor when you finish munching on them, it might be pungent (such as the onion flower), nutty (such as the arugula flower), or cucumber-y (such as the borage flower).

If any of your plants have bolted, taste the flowers and see if you can use them as a pretty substitute for what they grew out of. Have a browse below and start playing with flowers in your food!

(Arugula flowers)

(Arugula flowers)

(Arugula flowers over an heirloom tomato with aged goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette)

(Day lily bulb flower)

(Bolted shallot with flower growing at the top)

(Onion flowers)

(Onion flower vinaigrette)

(Artichoke flower)

(Zucchini blossoms)

(Bee making honey from flowers)

(Sunflower and seeds)

(Borage flowers)

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