Storified by ebanreb· Sun, Apr 07 2013 19:10:00
Flowers are our inspiration and our delight. They are aesthetically pleasing and satisfy our senses with their beauty of form, their colours and their perfumes. And sometimes they can serve us in a more earthy manner by contributing to our variety of foods and in our employ, used in our arts and culinary skills in adding colour and flavour to our drinks, soups, salads, and our cooked dishes, or in garnishing savoury dishes and in decorating cakes, biscuits, dessert and confectionary.
A few flowers have survived in traditional modern kitchen use, such as rose petals, nasturtiums, zucchini flowers, violets, chamomile and calendulas. We regularly enjoy the less obvious flowers of cauliflower, broccoli, and globe artichokes. Most of us will know that the flowers of herbs rosemary, basil and lavender are not poisonous and therefore safe to use in food preparation. But what of all the others?
We must be alert to the fact that many pretty plants are also poisonous so must be cautious in using their flowers as an attractive addition to culinary preparations. We must know the flowers to avoid and those that are safe to use freely.
There is an increasing general interest to enlarge the scope of well known safe florals that can be used in regular dishes just as we seek in horticulture to be able to grow many more of the full range of delightful flowering plants that exist in gardens of the world.
It becomes imperative as public interest in the subject grows, to determine flowers that are completely safe; those that should be used carefully or mainly as garnishing; and flowers such as the oleander and daffodil bulbs that are highly toxic and should never be admitted near a kitchen.