Thinking about sending that special man in your life some flowers? If he has a preference, great! You already know what to get. If you're unsure, try sending an exotic cactus or an unusual combination of "chicks and hens" (otherwise known as succulent evergreen perennials). Mixing various kinds of succulents in a large indoor plant container makes an interesting focal point in any house, condo, or apartment. They can be planted inside or out and are very easy to care for. The most important thing when choosing plants is to make sure they match your growing area.
• Flowers that come from a florist, greenhouse or plant nursery should never be eaten. These flowers are not labeled as a food crop and will probably contain dangerous pesticides.
• Never eat a flower unless you are certain it is edible. If there is a doubt, do not consume it.
• Don’t assume the flowers you see in food magazines are edible. Research the flower to make sure it is safe and not poisonous. Many flowers are used in food magazines simply as decoration.
• Known poisonous flowers include: lily of the valley, daffodils, calla lily, crocus, foxglove, rhododendron and azaleas.
• When you first start eating flowers, you should start slow. Non-poisonous flowers may slightly affect your digestive system if they are eaten in large quantities.
After you have picked your edible flowers, you should wash them. Keep in mind that some edible flowers will slightly lose their color when they are washed. Flowers with long stems should be kept in water and put in a cool place. Short stem flowers can be layered between damp paper towels and placed in the refrigerater. Edible flowers will keep up to a week when handled properly and stored in a dark, cool place.
Never add a floral preservative to your flowers.
People enjoy cooking and preparing foods and drinks with flowers because their vibrant colors add a special touch that just isn’t found in vegetables. Flowers come in many different tastes from sweet to sour to hot and peppery. Flowers add a special taste and aroma to dishes, desserts and drinks.
Some flowers are also high in minerals and vitamins and nearly all are free of calories. However, they may also be rich in pollen! So, if you suffer from allergies be sure to remove the pistils and stamens prior to eating.
Violets, Johnny Jump-Ups and Violas can be eaten. These flowers come in a wide range of colors – from pastels like yellow and apricot to deep purples. Petals make wonderful decorations on desserts and salads. The petals from these flowers can also be frozen in ice cubes or added to punch bowls. Large leaves can be cooked like spinach and eaten with a meal.
Only hybrid begonias should be eaten.
Tuberous begonia petals are colorful and sour. You can use them to add zip and zing to your salads. Add the blossoms to a salad for a juicy crunch. If you are looking for a replacement of rhubarb, try using the stems of hybrid begonias.
Individuals who suffer from rheumatism and kidney stones may want to steer clear of any salad that has begonias because the stems and flower do contain oxalic acid.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|