Gourmet Botanicals

Edible flowers not only make your dish gorgeous, they taste delicious too!

STORY BY: AMI BROWN

A recent encounter at a dinner party inspired to me write this article. While helping the host prepare a cheese platter, I was given a bag of fresh flowers—needless to say I was a little confused. The bag had a variety of colorful petals, flowers and buds. These were not only for decoration, but for eating! They were so beautiful and actually looked delicious, I couldn’t wait to try them. killer, because it can run in the soil and effect your garden without you knowing.

Eckhart Tolle described flowers as a source to enlightenment in his book “A New Earth”. According to Tolle, “ Flowers Have an awakening power—those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of humans. Humans would increasingly be drawn to and fascinated by flowers. As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value which had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics.”

There are only a few places to purchase edible flowers, organic and safe to eat. Shelton Farms in Leland is one of those places. The owner, Margaret Shelton, said that the edible flowers they carry include Pansies, Violas, Nasturtium, Begonias, Violets, Tasmanian Violets, Rosemary, Calendula and more (depending on the season). I talked to my friend Tania – an expert on the subject and she was excited to share her personal edible flower knowledge with me. She said, “I use organic culinary rose petals and lavender for dishes and cocktails.”

Flowers were most likely the first thing humans came to value which had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. – Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth

“I buy my edible flowers and herbs from Shelton Herb Farm in Leland. If you go, don’t trust your GPS! It might steer you wrong. It is located at 340 Goodman Road and directions are provided on their web site. Their staff are very knowledgeable and welcoming, especially Margaret Shelton.” Tania tells more about her fun dinner parties – accompanied by edible flowers.

“My neighbors and I have started a monthly dinner party and January was our month to host. Winters on the Southern coast can be a bit gloomy and so my husband Gordon and I wanted to provide a warm and nurturing environment. After we decided on this theme we knew immediately to start at Shelton Herb Farm. We’ve been going there for years and with each trip we are charmed anew. We purchased edible flowers and an assortment of fresh culinary herbs. Among the many edible flowers represented in our basket were pansies, which are symbolic of loving thoughts.

The colors are brilliant and we used them in our salad along with fragrant herbs. We also used the flowers as garnish for other dishes. Shelton Herb Farm provides such generous quantities of their fresh products that we had enough flowers and herbs to share with our guests at the end of the evening.” I had the pleasure to be included in this dinner party, and it has inspired me now to enjoy edible flowers in my own home made recipes. They are not only more beautiful but offer some unique fragrances and sweet unexpected flavors.

I hope you too will step outside your comfort zone and try some yummy edible flowers. For more information about Shelton Herb Farm, you can check out their website: www.sheltonherbfarm.com or call 910-253-5964 They are open Mon- Saturday 8am-5pm, closed on Sundays and most holidays.

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