Flowers On Your Plate
Add a bouquet of edible flowers to your diet as they are more than just fragrance
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It’s spring season and the perfect time to talk about flowers. So, how about knowing “edible” flowers a little more than what we already do. These floral beauties have crossed the bridge from grandma’s humble kitchens to the posh restaurants to be experimented by new-age chefs. Most edible flowers are rich in Vit C and hence have antioxidant properties.
- Pumpkin flower :Known as kadu in Hindi, these flowers have a very mild flavour and can be stuffed with herbs & spices. They are low on calories like most flowers and rich in calcium, iron and Vitamins A and C. They are most often enjoyed in eastern India, mainly Bengal as fritters.
- Butterfly pea/ Aparajita flowers : This one has emerged recently as a tea. Aparajita flowers have an alkaline effect, and the water changes from blue to violet, when you squeeze lemon in it. They are known to enhance memory, beat stress & depression, can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Roses : Just a whiff of roses(desi gulab) is enough to conjure up childhood memories of thandai with rose petals, or adulthood with paan with gulkand. Did you know gulkand is the best natural antacid that could help beat morning sickness, acid reflux and heartburn. Infact roses are so versatile that they can merge in teas, jams & desserts easily and selflessly lend their flavor and aroma. The fruit of the plant, rose-hips is best had as a flavoured tea. Rose water is widely known for it’s role in skincare, since centuries.
- Banana flower : The banana blossom’s flavour is a milder version of a banana. Also known as Banana hearts, they contain fibre, protein, minerals like potassium, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron and Magnesium & Vit E. These beautiful crimson flowers can be eaten raw or cooked or added to salad, soup, stir fried or even herbal teas. They can enhance mood and lower stress levels. They are light on the gut and help beat bloating. As per Ayurveda, they are an excellent remedy for managing excessive bleeding during a menstrual period. They are also considered a good galacatagogue(foods that enhance breast milk production in lactating women).
- Hibiscus - Hibiscus tea is believed to be effective in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and remedial for treating digestive & immune disorders. It is also considered beneficial in treating inflammatory conditions, liver diseases and even cancer.
- Moringa/ Swanjana/ Sehjan flowers : Can be had as drumstick in your sambar, ground in to a chutney, had as a crispy fried snack or cooked as a vegetable. The moringa flower tea is considered a powerful medicine with nutritional benefits. It helps relieve menstrual bloating & cramping. The calcium & potassium in moringa can elevate stamina and energy levels. Ayurveda uses these flowers to treat inflammations, muscle spasms, tumors and enlarged spleen. A word of caution , though, since they have a slight laxative effect, one should not overeat and pregnant women SHOULD AVOID them.
- Jasmine : Besides adorning hair as gajras, they can be added to rice or green tea because of their heady aroma. Jasmine tea can help lower blood pressure, fight ageing and control insomnia.
- Chamomile : Again a tea-flower , nicknamed as “water of youth” , known specially for it’s calming properties. Chamomile tea also helps treat common cold.
- Rhodendron : The beverage, Buransh, made from this flower in the hilly states of India is tarty and revitalizing. Apart from juicing the blossoms, the locals also make a zingy chutney out of it by grinding together the flowers with tamarind, chillies and bits of ginger.
- Saffron : The stamen of the saffron crocus flower are worth their weight in gold. The stigmas are also used to make medicine. Saffron is used for asthma, cough, whooping cough (pertussis), and to loosen phlegm (as an expectorant). Also helps enhance complexion & memory, relieve gas and raise body temperature.
So, before consuming edible flowers, make sure you are taking the ones that are “edible”. If you are uncertain, it’s better to double check. Do not eat roadside flowers or those picked in public parks. Both may have been treated with pesticides, and roadside flowers may be extremely polluted. Eat only the petals, and remove pistils . If you suffer from allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually, as they may aggravate allergies.
To keep flowers fresh, place them on moist paper towels and refrigerate in an airtight container.
Add a bouquet of edible flowers to your diet as they are more than just fragrance.
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