This spring I have had the best time traveling On the Road with Sickles Market with Kirsty, our Director of Tours and Training. We have visited some of the finest gardens in the country, including Longwood Gardens, Winterthur and the New York Botanical Gardens. At the Botanical Gardens we were dazzled by walls of colorful orchids, designed by Patrick Blanc. Being the Culinary Marketing Specialist, my thoughts naturally wandered in the gastronomic direction, and I mused that the bountiful blooms looked good enough to eat! I was not entirely out of line, as it turns out. There are certain species of orchids (Vanilla and Orchis) that are actually edible. These lovely flowers are available this time of year in the produce section at Sickles Market and add a tropical touch to salads, fruit bowls and cheese platters.
Other flowers find their way to the table in the summer, including Nasturtium, whose flower has five bright orange, red or yellow petals and a long nectar tube in the back. The flavor is quite peppery like watercress, making a festive and rather zippy addition to salad greens. The Nasturtium flower can also be tossed with pasta or added to a vegetable stir-fry. Zucchini blossoms are one of my favorite edible blossoms. They proliferate all summer long and taste delicious deep-fried, tossed in pasta dishes or stuffed with cheese. Bon Appetit calls Fried Zucchini Blossoms the “jalapeno poppers of the jet set.”
You can also turn to the rose garden for inspiration. Rose petal jam, a cherished delight of Middle Eastern origin, is a delicate, almost ethereal experience. The Italian company, Casa Forcello, combines raspberries and rose petals to make an enticing little compote that the Cheese Department will be sampling on June 2nd and 3rd as part of Sickles Market’s Rose Weekend festivities. Do come out and try some with our luscious Stracchino-Crescenza cheese. You’ll soon see why edible flowers are incredible!