Flowers are beautiful. Flowers smell divine. But did you know there are edible flowers, flowers for cooking, and even flowers that make you feel relaxed and calm? When we think of flowers we often think of a beautiful bouquet we receive on the holidays, or colorful wildflowers we pick from a garden. Yet there are so many other flower uses that we completely forget about. Flowers can make a dessert taste like heaven or create aromatherapy to rest our tired souls. We’ve put together a list of ideas take advantage of their some of their other beautiful qualities that reach far beyond the pretty colors and fragrant bouquets.
Roses are edible
Yes, you read that right. Most people might not know this, but roses are edible and as with many edible flowers, they actually are quite tasty! Some claim they taste like a sweet apple fruit and others fail to be able to describe the taste of a rose. There are many recipes for the use of roses online, but a favorite is always candied rose petals, which are a great confection to decorate cookies, cakes and puddings, as well as rose jam for fantastic petit fours. You can also freeze roses in ice cubes, float them in punches and sprinkle them on your favorite flan. Remember, if you are going to use roses for any type of food, it is imperative you use organic roses that are 100% pesticide free. Also make sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals.
Sunflower’s seeds are nutritious
Sunflower seeds are one of the highest concentrates of vitamin E around, and they are an amazing summer snack. Raw sunflower seeds are more nutritious, carry more protein and have a higher concentration of vitamin E than roasted sunflower seeds – but your taste is what is most important. You can sprinkle shelled sunflower seeds on cereals, salads, trail mix and even mix it in with your pesto sauce. If you choose to roast your sunflower seeds, toss a handful or two of raw sunflower seeds into a dry non-stick skillet. Using high heat, stir continuously until seeds turn light golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Watch them carefully to avoid burning. As soon as they begin to turn brown remove from the heat.
Lavender is nature’s relaxation tool
The smell of lavender can calm even the most stressful of folks. While lavender can be used for a variety of potions, teas, lotions and oils – one of the favorite and most simple ways to calm down after a long days work is to take a lavender bath. Taking a bath full of the smells and calming qualities of lavender is simple. Take a bunch (a handful is usually enough) of fresh or dried lavender flowers and crush them into the hot bath water with your hands. Let it soak for a minute or two and then hop on in. You will feel like a million bucks every day you indulge in this bath.
The vanilla bean comes from an orchid
The vanilla orchid is just as beautiful as every other orchid you find at the flower mart. However not many people know that the vanilla bean actually comes from an orchid. From essential oil, to candles, lotions and creme brule – vanilla is one of the most sought after scents, flavors and flowers around for cooking. The next time you go to buy vanilla extract to cook your favorite dessert, why not grab the real thing and purchase vanilla beans instead? You will be pleasantly surprised. There are two types of vanilla beans you can find at most specialty food shops – Bourbon and Tahitian. Both are unique in their flavor but equally delicious.