Friday Food Review…Edible Flowers…Part 5…Marigold flower, Pansy(viola) Flower and Lesser Bougainvilla Switzel…

Welcome to this week’s edition of edible flowers…I watch all…well most of the cooking programmes…I love Masterchef and Great British Menu and I am in awe of the beautiful presentation of the food if I can ever-present food that resembles those dishes just a little then I will be a happy bunny…Whatever the month there will be a plant or tree that flowers obviously not all edible or palatable but I am trying to find flowers in season pretty much like fruit and vegetable although, of course, that will also depend on where you hail from around the globe…

Lots of the FB and Instagram posts portray such beautiful food often adorned with pretty flowers which seems to be something of the norm now…BUT….. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THOSE PRETTY FLOWERS ARE????

DO YOU ASSUME BECAUSE THEY ARE IN A DISH THAT THEY ARE EDIBLE???… If foraging or picking flowers from your or a friend’s garden check that not only are they edible but palatable and that pesticides haven’t been used…

Marigold Flower…Marigolds are eaten as petals or leaves, raw or blanched, fresh or dry, sweet or savoury.

Not only are Marigolds used medicinally or by vegetable growers to control pests but they are also edible…And they’re not all for making wines or syrups…although you can… sometimes dried and ground to make imitation saffron powder…known as “poor man’s saffron” they are simply delicious with cold sliced cucumber that has been quickly pickled and paired with a simple, sharp dressing…by taking the petals and trimming the heels and although the Marigold has a strong smell the trimmed petals are milder and add such a beautiful fragrance to the quick pickled cucumber…

BUT of course not all varieties of the Marigold are edible..this masterclass tells you what you need to know …How to identify the ones that are edible .

Pansy(Viola) Flowers…Pansies and their relative’s violas, two common types of edible flowers, have a mild, fresh flavour or a more prominent wintergreen taste depending on the variety and how much you eat. For example, a whole flower tastes stronger than consuming a few petals alone.

If you’re going to eat pansies, it’s important to know the flowers have never been sprayed with a pesticide. When you buy transplants from garden centres, ask if the flowers were grown for edible purposes. Often nurseries spray their bedding plants with systemic pesticides that were not intended for human consumption.

Pansies have a mild evergreen flavour that lends itself well to salads, drinks and desserts. Unlike many edible flowers, you can eat the entire pansy flower – sepals and all.

Float pansy flowers in punches. Or, freeze petals in ice cube trays to add pops of colour to cocktails and sparkling waters. Pansy flowers lend themselves well to candying and can be used for decorating cupcakes, cookies and cakes…I think they are one of my favourite flowers for decorating cupcakes and cakes with their vibrant colour they look so pretty.

Lesser Bourgainvilla Flower…I am lucky to have this beautiful plant in my garden…it was a Christmas gift from my son as he knows I love this plant before I knew the botanical name I always described the flowers as paperlike and wasn’t surprised to learn that it is one of the names for the Bougainvilla plant…

It flowers practically all year here and loves full sun…The flower bracts of Bougainvillea are edible. They can be eaten fresh in salads, deep fried in batter and used in drinks (the colour from the flower bracts seeps into liquids) and of course as decoration. Beware of the thorns when picking though!

Bougainvillea switzel

Switzel is an-old fashioned drink also known as “shrub” or “fruit vinegar”.

Makes about 5 cups of concentrate.


  •  4 cups bright, fresh bougainvillaea flower bracts
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • 1 cup fresh lemon verbena flowers and leaves OR lemon myrtle leaves
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple pieces
  • ½ cup unpasteurised apple cider vinegar with the mother.

To serve: Seasonal fruits

Let’s Cook:

Rinse the bougainvillaea to remove pollen before adding them and the water to a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. The water will take on the colour of the bracts.

Strain out the bracts, retaining the liquid. Return the coloured liquid to the pot and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve then reheat to boil for 1 minute to create a syrup.

Turn off the heat and add the lemon slices, leaves and pineapple.

Mash them with a potato masher to release the flavours of the fruit. Allow it to infuse in the syrup for 5 minutes.

Strain the liquid and keep it, but discard the solids. Cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, add the vinegar and leave on the worktop, covered, for 8-12 hours to begin fermentation.

This will start the fermentation and give you a very slightly effervescent drink. Pour into bottles and refrigerate.

To serve, add ice and chopped seasonal fruits to a glass. Pour in a little switzel concentrate as you would for cordial.

Dilute with soda or mineral water.

COOK’S NOTE: Using unpasteurised apple cider vinegar, which has the vinegar mother, encourages the development of beneficial bacteria in a very mild ferment, so it’s good for gut health. For an alcoholic switzel, add a little gin to your glass.

That’s all for edible flowers today thank you for joining me as always I look forward to and appreciate your comments and if you use any of these flowers please, please be vigilant when checking that they are edible and that pesticides have not been used… if you have any recipes and would like to share a recipe then please do we would love to know what you make using edible flowers xx

17 thoughts on “Friday Food Review…Edible Flowers…Part 5…Marigold flower, Pansy(viola) Flower and Lesser Bougainvilla Switzel…

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Sally… food most certainly is I have wanted this plant for a long time but it was not until I looked it up in more detail I realised the flowers were edible I can’t wait to make a lovely switzel …Hugs and a Happy New Year xx

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  1. Pingback: Friday Food Review…Edible Flowers…Part 5…Marigold flower, Pansy(viola) Flower and Lesser Bougainvilla Switzel… – MobsterTiger

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