Thursday, 20 December 2018

Christmas Edible Flower Punnets

The Christmas season is upon us, with that comes salads and lovely tempting treats, what better way than to use edible flowers to create delicious and eye captivating morsels. In your punnets this week we have:  

Feijoa blossoms:Yes use the threads to sprinkle over cream and desserts, or add into salads.  

Violas and pansies: the remainder that are steadfastly holding out with that heat, they will be gone shortly. Stock up now. Add them into ice cubes, great for using in drinks.

Fuchsias: Great to add into salads, don't forget to remove stamens.  

Carnations, Sweet Williams and Dianthus: Use to decorate desserts, cakes or add into salads. Remember to remove the bitter white heel.  

Roses: Lovely scented miniature roses and roses in deep red and pink. Great for candying.  

Dahlias: Use the petals to sprinkle over salads.  

Fennel blossoms: Add into salads.  

Nasturtiums: Add into salads, top on to pizzas, add into omelettes.  

Stock: Can be candied or add into salads. Remove white heel.  

Calendula: Use petals only into salads or baked goods such as bread.

 Snapdragons: Use in salads, remove the green heel.  

Begonias: Add into vegetable and fruit salads to give it a zing.  

Cornflowers: Sprinkle petals over cream or on top of desserts. Or use in salads.

Have a great Christmas and safe New Year's eve. Enjoy.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

What's in your Edible Flower Punnet this week?

If you have purchased one of our edible flower punnets this week you will nourish your body with essential phytochemicals.

This week your punnet may contain the following in season florals:

Marigold (tagetes)
Pineapple sage
Scented geranium

Remember to eat the petals only and remove the white heel parts of the petal which can be bitter.

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Below is a list of some of the edible flowers and herbs we grow and use in our punnets. 

Our flowers and herbs are grown in our boutique farm in Pukekohe, thus our elite soil is of the Patumahoe loam and we add to it food grade diatomaceous earth to control unwanted insects and to nourish our plants. Our flowers are free of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. We grow them in a biodiverse environment where we companion plant for optimal taste and pest control.  We use natural living water for irrigation.

Flowers are picked at two optimal times of the day:  in the morning after the dew has dried (usually a summer pick); or in the evening when they have stored the sun's energy in their petals (makes fruit and flowers sweeter) - best done in winter. If you pick during the summer in the evening make sure they have had a good drink by mid afternoon.

When eating edible flowers for the first time it is important that they are used like condiments, herbs and spices, that is they are not a meal in themselves. It also pays to sample for any allergic reaction one may have. Bear in mind such allergic reaction may only be from the pollen. Shake off pollen if this is the case, otherwise the pollen is beneficial for your body. 

We do our best to remove insects, but because we are spray free they can find themselves on our produce so it is best to rinse beforehand. We shake the flowers to remove insects, but due to their delicate nature one or two may slip past our quality control for the sake of ensuring no damage.

Alyssum (alyssum) Sweet and peppery taste similar to kale.

Angelica: (Angelica archangelica) is grown for its stems and leaves which are candied. The flowers are used in Chinese dishes and as a salad garnish. They have a licorice/celery flavour. The roots can also be eaten. Women who are pregnant and diabetics should avoid taking angelica, or only in small doses.

Apple blossom: tastes daintier than apples; do not eat excessively as the apple seed (from which the blossom will form into via the fruit) does contain cyanide.


Basil: (Ocimum basilicum) flowers taste like mild versions of the leaves. Comes in a variety of species such as ginger, walnuts, etc.

Bee Balm: (Mondard spp.) flower taste very depending on colour and species, from oregano crossed with mint to lemon and orange. Use as an oregano substitute.

Begonias: (tuberous and waxy) both varieties can be eaten. Succulent and crunchy, good for salads.

Borage: (Borago officinalis) blue star-shaped flowers have a cucumber flavour. Try in chilled soups, or punch, and gin and tonic.

Broccoli: (??) The florets (also a flower) if left will blossom into yellow blooms. Similar taste to broccoli.

Burnet: (Sanguisorba minor) petals also taste like cucumbers.

Calendula: is the pot marigold. Add petals to soups and breads.

Cauliflower: ( ) This floret if left will also bloom into blossoms which can be stir-fried or added to salads.

Carnations: (Dianthus caryophyllus) the sweet smelling clove like carnations, bigger than pinks. Remove the heel as it is bitter. Use in desserts, cakes, sweet dishes.

Chamomile: ( ) best known for its soothing tea blend. 


Chive blossoms: (Allium schoenoprasum) and other allium flowers can be used as mild onion substitutes in salads or to flavour vineyards.

Chrysanthemums: Petals are tangy, and peppery, a bit like cauliflower. We suggest blanch before using, unless in baked goods.

Citrus blossoms: are by fragrant and can be overpowering. The petals may be distilled for flower water to be used in Middle Eastern dishes and confectionery.

Clover (red and white): Eaten in salads. Dried flower heads can be made into nutritious flour. Flowers and seed pods are dried, ground into powder and used as a flour or sprinkled on cooked foods such as boiled rice. Very wholesome and nutritious. The young flowers can also be used in salads. Root - cooked. The dried leaves impart a vanilla flavour to cakes etc. Dried flowering heads are a tea substitute.

Cornflowers: (Centaurea cyanus) also Blue Bachelor’s Buttons. Have a mild clover flavour. Use as a garnish. 

Cosmos: (Suophureus)

Daisy (English): Use in baking.

Dandelions: (Taraxacum officinale) should be picked when young or just opening for their honey-like flavour. Can be used to make teas  (root can be used to make coffee) or petals in salads and baked goods.


Daylilies: (Hemerocallis species and varieties) can be picked as buds and stir-fried, or pull petals then tear for a garnish or in salads -  that tastes like sweet lettuce. Yellow flowers have the best taste.

Dianthus: (Dianthus caryophyllus, Dianthus barbatus) Pinks, or Sweet Williams, have a clove like smell, smaller version of the carnation. Various culinary uses.

Dill: (Anethum garveolens) flowers have a strong flavour good for adding to dips, cold soups, and fish dishes.

Elderberry blossom: Used in drinks and baking.

Evening Primrose: 

Fennel: (Foeniculum vulgare) umbels have an anise flavour tinged with honey (from the pollen) and can be used with desserts or replace fennel seeds with chopped fennel blossoms in recipes (baked or cooked).

Feijoa: These blossoms taste like candyfloss. 


Freesias: a cucumber-peppery taste, ideal for use in stuffed hors d'Oeuvres, used in salads; or used as garnish on cakes.

Fuchsias:  (Onagraceae) All species are edible. An ideal green or fruit salad garnish. They look very decorative if crystallised or inserted into jelly. The berries are also edible and useful for making jams.

Geranium: (Pergolamium) This is the scented variety and comes in many flavours chocolate, ginger, nutmeg, rose, mint rose, apple, orangeade, limeade, etc. Blossoms and leaves are both edible. Citronella may not be edible according to some folks.

GladiolasFlowers taste similar to lettuce, and make a lovely receptacle for sweet or savoury spreads or mousses. You could also toss individual petals in salads for colour.



Hibiscus: (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) tastes a bit like cranberries, rose hips, or lemon and is an ingredient in many herbal teas. 

Hollyhocks:  (Malvaceae) also known as althaea rosea



Impatiens: (Impatiens walleriana) blossoms are sweet and may be used mostly as a garnish or in baked goods – cakes, breads, etc.

Johnny Jump-ups (Viola tricolor or violas) have pretty, tiny pansy-like flowers that are very often used for garnishing soft cheeses, cream on cakes, biscuits or used in pancakes. They have a slight wintergreen flavour.

Lavender: (Lavanadula angustifolia) flowers are more floral and less medicinal than their leafy counterparts and can be used to flavour ice-cream. Stronger lavenders can be used in baked goods such as cakes. All varieties are edible but some are better than others.


Lilac: (Syringa vulgaris) blossoms may have a lemony flavour, but they do vary. Most often flowers are candied or used with desserts and cakes.

Marguerite Daisies: (Argyranthemum frutescens)

Marigold: (Tagetes tenuifolia) petals are used as a substitute for saffron with a mild citrus flavours. Petals can be used sparingly in salads, or in baked good. Use as for pot marigold (calendula). Ensure heel is removed from petal.

Marjoram: (Origanum majorana) flowers are used like the leaves.

Mint: (Mentha spp.) blossoms vary according to the variety like the leaves. The flavour is milder. Comes in apple, spearmint, peppermint, chocolate, orange, Thai, etc.

Mullein: (Verbascum): edible plant with medicinal properties.


Muscari: The flowers can be sprinkled over desserts to add a delicate scented flavour.

Nasturtium: (Tropaeolum majusj) flowers have a strong peppery, watercress-like taste that varies by colour and variety. They can be stuffed with soft cheeses. Use them dipped in icing sugar to garnish omelettes and other baked goods. 

Nigella (aka Love in a Mist)  (Nigella damascena and Nigella Satvia - Black Cumin) Nutmeg flavour. Seeds used as a condiment, found on the top of Turkish bread.

Orange: blossoms are edible.

Oregano: (Origanum vulgare) flowers are milder than the leaves, but may be used in the same way.

Pansy: (Viola x wittrockiana) blossoms have a mild taste, like Johnny jump-ups diluted, somewhat wintergreen.

Pea: (Pisum sativum):

Pinks: (Dianthus varieties) taste a bit like clove. Use for garnish on desserts, cakes or candy or steep in wine.

Phlox: (paniculata perennial) Have a spicy taste. The creeping and annual phlox is not edible.

Poppies (California): No records of toxicity have been seen but this species belongs to a family that contains many poisonous plants. Some caution is therefore advised. Not to be confused with other poppies whose seed is edible but flower stock is not.

Polyanthas, Primrose, Primula vulgaris, Primula veris: Popular as a garnish on salads. Remove the stalks so they sit open-faced on top of lettuce, cress etc. Crystallise or use in pancakes or cakes. Sprinkle fresh polyanthus blossoms in salads, adding a touch of colour and a sweet taste. Flowers can be crystallised and used as decorations, making them ideal for special cakes and desserts, for example on Mothering Sunday or at Easter.

Portulacas: (aka Purslane and  Rose Moss) The moisture-rich leaves are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews.

Radish: Excellent small flowers ideal to scatter through summer salads with a milder taste of radish. 

Redbud: Again use small quantities as contains saponin.

Rosemary: (Rosmarinus officinalis) has blue, pink or white flowers depending on variety and have a similar taste but in a milder form.

Roses: (Rosa species and varieties) vary from species to species. All are edible from organic pesticide free growers. Use petals as garnish on desserts, cakes or baked goods. Freeze them in ice-cubes for drinks, and mix coloured parts of petals with butter for a scented spread. Candy petals. Rose water is used in Middle Eastern candies and cakes (e.g. Turkish Delight). Heirloom roses with their strong fragrance are the best tasting. Avoid florist or nursery roses which often are grown for floral and aesthetic values with the downside of fragrance being lost with these new varieties of roses.

Running Green Bean: 

Safflower: (Carthamus tinctorius) flowers are dried for a saffron substitute that will add colour to dishes.

Sage: (Salvia officinalis) blossoms have a milder taste than the leaves. Pineapple sage blossoms taste of pineapple but milder that the leaves. Use in pork, beef and chicken dishes.

Savoury: (Satureja hortensis) flowers are hot and peppery.

Snapdragons: Can have a bitter taste or bland. Use as a garnish or add to applesauce with raisins.
Dark colours excellent source of phytochemicals.

Sorrel: (Rumex acetosa) flowers taste lemony, like the leaves, and are great for garnishing cream soups.

Squash flowers:  

Stock:  Flowers are usually added to salads raw or a garnish to desserts, they can also be candied. Their flavour is perfumed.

Sunflower: (Helianthus annuus)  flower buds can be picked and steamed like little artichokes. Use torn petals in baked goods or butter.

Thyme: (Thymus spp.) flowers are a gentler version of the plant’s leaves and stems. Use flowers in meat dishes, or wherever thyme is called for.

Tulip: (Liliaceae) The bulb and the flowers have been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people. Safe to eat up to 5 bulbs a day without ill-effect, but like any food 1 or 2 servings would suffice on a plate.


Violas: Also known as Johnny-Jump Ups

Violet: (viola spp)  Sweet and wild violets. flowers have a delicate perfume flavour, and may be candied or used to garnish desserts and cakes. Can come in blue and white. We have cultivated violet and wild violet.  

Yarrow: Aromatic teas can be made with the flowers. Do not induce large amounts and it is medicinally flagged for being a sedative.

Yucca: (Yucca spp) petals are mild with a hint of sweetness like a mix of artichoke and asparagus.

Zucchini flowers: 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Strawberry Mint & Hibiscus Tea

Strawberry Mint & Hibiscus Iced Tea

  • 4 teaspoons dried spearmint tea leaves
  • 4 teaspoons dried hibiscus flowers (remove the anthers if drying your own)
  • 2 teaspoons red raspberry tea leaves
  • 8 cups boiling hot water
  • Ice
  • Mint, to garnish
  • Strawberries, to garnish
  • 450g strawberries, washed & hulled
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup of raw honey

  1. Place the spearmint leaves, hibiscus flowers, and red raspberry tea leaves in a 2L mason jar or similar sized container. Pour the boiling hot water over the tea leaves and let steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the tea through a fine mesh strainer into another jar, pressing on solids to extract all the flavour you can. Discard solids. Let tea cool to room temperature then cover and place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Meanwhile, place the strawberries, lemon juice, and honey in a blender and process until completely pureed. Run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. NOTE: this step is not completely necessary and is simply a matter of personal preference. If you don’t mind the texture of strawberry seeds in beverages, you can skip this step.
  4. Add the strawberry puree to the cold tea and mix well.
  5. Pour over ice to serve! Garnish with mint leaves and strawberry slices

Monday, 19 December 2016

Edible Flowers and Health Benefits

Our farm has a number of edible flowers and blossoms available. If you are unsure about the benefits of eating edible flowers and blossoms, well you are not alone, as there is only just beginning to be a wave of new research in this area.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a significant increase in the consumption of edible flowers, primarily within salads where they have been used to add colour. Apart from providing colour, edible flowers are a rich source of bioactive compounds or phytochemicals, and it is this that attributes to our health and wellbeing.

First, phytochemicals have anti-oxidant and hypoglycemic properties, further they are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-obesity, and have a neuroprotection effect! Research findings (  from food scientists advise that edible flowers are a functional food. Although phytochemicals are non-nutritive i.e. they are not required by us for our sustenance; plant chemicals do, however, have functional properties that provide our bodies with protection and disease prevention.

Flowers are natural plant foods, and like many plant foods in nature often contain valuable nutrients for your health. For instance, dandelions contain numerous antioxidant properties and flavonoids, including FOUR times the beta carotene of broccoli, as well as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. They're also a rich source of vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyroxidine, niacin, and vitamins E and C. Other examples include:

  • Violets contain rutin, a phytochemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that ay help strengthen capillary walls
  • Rose petals contain bioflavonoids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E
  • Nasturtiums contain cancer-fighting lycopene and lutein, a carotenoid found in vegetables and fruits that is important for vision health
  • Lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron, and is said to benefit your central nervous system
  • Chive blossoms (the purple flower of the chive herb) contain vitamin C, iron and sulfur, and have traditionally been used to help support healthy blood pressure level

Second, as flowers blossom in spring, the photosynthesis of the 'spring sun' is an unseen chemical reaction bursting the dormant plants into renewed life, flowers that will give seeds for later new growth. It is a regenerative cycle. The winter and autumn sun chemical processes are different to the spring sun, and when we eat the edible flowers and blossoms from these plants, we too benefit with that same energy of rejuvenation, hence another good reason to eat foods in season.

One note of advice - edible flowers should be used sparingly, as an accompaniment, and never as their own food. 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Marigold Sweet Buns

You can use marigolds or calendula for this recipe. Please only use washed petals.

2 eggs                            2 tablespoons fresh chopped or dried marigold petals
Match weight in: plain flour and castor sugar

1. Separate the eggs.
2. Add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat well.
3. Fold in flour and marigold petals.
4. Beat egg white until stiff.
5. Add to yolk mixture, mixing well together.
6. Divide in greased bun tins topped with more marigold petals and a sprinkling of sugar.
7. Bake in a modern oven for about 10 minutes.

Other uses for marigold and cooking ideas can be found here at these links:

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Fennel Blossom recipe ideas

More inspirational cooking ideas for fennel blossom and the licoricey honeyed flavoured pollen that comes with it.

Pick of the week: Fennel blossom and pollen

Don’t walk past that fennel you see growing wild in your garden or on the roadside … it’s even more useful in the kitchen than you might realise. Sure the fronds are wonderful  to bring a mild aniseed flavour to vegetable and fish dishes, to soups and eggs, but it’s the lacy yellow flowers, along with their dried pollen, that have foragers-in-the-know and restaurateurs worldwide waxing lyrical. We spotted packets of the fresh blossoms, along with packets of flowering thyme, at Farro Fresh last week, two crops from Pukekohe artisan growers, Mission Cabana. Add the fresh blossoms with other whole herbs to pickles, sauces, dressings and in flavoured vinegars. Or sprinkle them over salads. For the more adventurous, try baking them in bread or stir through fresh pasta.

Mission Cabana even has a fennel blossom icecream (no machine required) on its website.

And now for the pollen. In summer it could be fun (and impressive) to have a go at harvesting your own but unless you’ve got fennel growing in abundance, don’t expect buckets of the stuff. Pick whole flowers and place them in a bag where, as they dry, you can shake the pollen free. (Fresh pollen is more intense than dried.) If drying your own is a no-go, you can now find hand-harvested Californian fennel pollen in wee bottles on the spice shelf at Farro’s Grey Lynn store. Slightly sweet, it tastes of freshly mown grass with aniseed brightness.

Move over saffron! Here’s how Farro recommends using fennel pollen

• Sprinkle 1 Tbsp over a roast chicken before it goes into the oven.
• Add to ricotta and use to stuff tortellini or, better still, zucchini flowers.
• Mix it with pepper and salt for an amazing bright and zesty sprinkle.
• Sprinkle a little over cooked roast pork.
• Sprinkle over steamed salmon.
• Mix with toasted pinenuts and cumin as a dukkah to sprinkle over meats, salads and seafood.
• Sprinkle over homemade breads just before they go into the oven.
• Mix through a pork-rich meat mix and stuff into a chicken or make your own sausages.
• Add to biscuit dough.
• Add to your pasta dough before you roll it.
• Shred leftover cooked chicken and add a good sprinkle of pollen before you add any grains, seeds or leaves.

Also use fennel sticks or stalks and peel them to use in spa water (refresh every day) with peach slices, cinnamon stick. Also add fennel stick peels to lemon and bitters, or vodka.