As you know I recently hosted a gathering here in Quincy where we discussed edible flowers (and even sampled some
) Prior to this when I was having my handout proofed it was requested that after the gathering I post it for everyone to benefit from.
[size:17pt]Edible Flowers for Gliders
Many people would like to enrich their gliders lives by giving them natural or native food items. A fun way to do this is to provide your glider with flowers that they can eat or shred to take back to their nest. But how do you determine what plants/flowers are safe for your babies. I have done some research and cross-referenced the safe plants list provided by the ISGA with several sites on edible flowers to come up with a list of some flowers that you can use to enrich and enliven your gliders dinner. This list is by no means complete, but it will give you a starting place.
However before we get started on the list, lets look at some facts about edible flowers.
· Proper identification of edible flowers is important. For not all flowers are edible and can in fact be poisonous.
· Use flowers that are grown without pesticides. For this reason you should NOT purchase flowers from florist, Garden Centers or Nurseries. These flowers are not grown for human or animal consumption and may have been treated with pesticides.
· For best flavor, pick flowers at their peak. You should pick flowers early in the day. Avoid unopened blossoms and wilted or faded flowers. They may have a bitter or unappealing flavor.
· Flowers can be preserved for later use. You can paint the petals with an egg-white wash (use a soft brush & dehydrated egg whites to avoid food poisoning. The flowers will be edible if the dehydrated egg powder is pasteurized.) After painting, dust the petal with a super-fine granulated sugar and dry it. Then store in an airtight container in a cool dark place.
· Many edible flowers are high in vitamin C and/or vitamin A along with other essential nutrients.
· Edible petals or entire flowers can be eaten, however, the stems, anthers and pistils may be bitter, so you may wish to remove these items.
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Now lets look at some of the different flowers that you can give to your glider.
· Anise Hyssop
(Agstache foeniculum) Both flowers and leaves have a delicate anise or licorice flavor. Some people say the flavor reminds them of root beer.
- Depending on the type, the flowers are either bright white, pale pink, or a delicate lavender. The flavor of the flower is milder, but similar to the leaves of the same plant. Basil also has different varieties that have different milder flavors like lemon and mint.
(Anthemis nobilis) The flowers are small and daisy-like and have a sweet, apple-like flavor.
- (Calendula officinalis) Also called Marigolds. A wonderful edible flower. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as Poor Man’s Saffron). Has pretty petals in golden-orange hues.
: (Chrysanthemum spp.) Tangy, slightly bitter, ranging in colors from red, white, yellow and orange. They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. They should be blanched first and then scatter the petals on a salad. Always remove the bitter flower base and use petals only.
: Sweet, anise-like, licorice.
(Taraxacum officinale) Member of Daisy family. Flowers are sweetest when picked young, and just before eating. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Good raw or steamed.
(all members) The flowers have a mildly bitter taste and are most commonly used for their looks than their flavor.
(Hemerocallis spp.) Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Their flavor is a combination of asparagus and zucchini. Chewable consistency. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors. NOTE: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a laxative.
(Anethum graveolens) Tangy; like leaves but stronger. Use yellow dill flowers as you would the herb itself.
: (Hibiscus rosasinensis) Cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones.
(Lonicera japonica) Sweet honey flavor. Berries are highly poisonous - Do not eat them!
: (Lavandula officinalis) Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes.
: (Rosa spp.) Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties.
· Rose of Sharon
(Hibiscus rosasinensis) Flowers and leaves are OK for gliders. They have a Citrus/cranberry flavor.
: (Rosmarinus officinalis) Milder version of leaf
: (Salvia officinalis) The flowers are violet-blue, pink or white up to 1 3/8 inches long, small, tube like, clustered together in whorls along the stem tops. Flowers have a subtler sage taste than the leaves. NOTE: Do not use the red colored ones when giving them to sugar gliders.
· Scented Geraniums
: (Pelargonium spp.) The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers. They come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and pastels. NOTE: Citronelle variety may not be edible.
· Squash Flowers
: (Curcubita pepo) Squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible and taste mildly of raw squash. Prepare the blossoms by washing and trimming the stems and remove the stamens.
: (Viola odorata) Sweet, perfumed flavor. Related flowers, Johnny jump-ups or violas, and pansies now come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues.