At this time of year (beginning of May) there are still some of the early spring flowers still around and the late spring flowers are just starting to appear, so now is a perfect time to add some colour to your salads or like the top restaurants use as a elegant but tasty garnish to your dishes.
Primroses have been in flower now for over two months but there are still a good number of fresh flowers still around. They have a mild, delicate flavour.
Wood Sorrel flowers have also been out for a few weeks and have almost finished but if you hunt around you may still find a few of the delicate white flowers still intact after all this wind and rain. The have a similar sharp, tangy flavour to the leaves but more subtle and sweeter.
The pretty purple/blue flowers of Ground Ivy are also still about but in nowhere near the numbers they were a month ago. The leaves of the plant can be quite strong and overpowering, but the flowers have just a hint of that mint like taste.
Coming through in large amounts at the moment is Hedge Garlic or Garlic Mustard. The leaves have a garlic like flavour but with a bitter mustard like after taste, the flowers however just have a sweet garlicky flavour without any bitterness at all.
Also coming through in damp meadows and woodlands is Lady’s Smock or Cuckoo Flower, so called because it flowers when the cuckoos arrive……about now! This plant is a member of the bittercress family and the leaves are hot and peppery like rocket or watercress. Again the flowers are much milder and sweeter tasting.
The flowers from all the Dead Nettles are edible and as they have a lot of nectar in to attract bees and other insects and all have a pleasant sweet taste. This one is Yellow Archangel, but the more abundant White and Red Dead Nettles can be used.
Also around at the moment are violets (Sweet Violets will have more flavour than Dog Violets which don’t have much taste), Gorse flowers which taste like broad beans and smell of coconut and Cow Parsley (which has a lovely sweet parsley like flavour……..but make certain of your identification!!), to name but a few.
Flower salad with balsamic glaze and truffle oil
So go on add a bit of colour to your food, you’ll be surprised at the range of flavours that flowers can contain. Remember to make sure of your ID, pick from areas that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals or contaminated by pollutants (including dog pee), and only pick in areas where you allowed. And don’t strip areas bare…..every flower you remove will mean less seeds put down by that plant.