Few things speak of Beltane to me more than flowers. As the Spring sun kisses the emerald grass, it seems to leave a trail of yellow flowers behind. The cool May breeze spreads the floral perfume of these elegant color splashes that dot the newly green landscape. You can’t attend a single Beltane or Spring event where garlands of flowers don’t decorate the hair of the participants. The flowers sing of all the promises that Beltane and Spring make. Vibrancy, beauty, passion, sexuality. The colors of yellows, purples, pinks and reds are alive and reflect the energy that is around us.
Most of us love to fill our houses with these new friends, loading vases with tulips and lilacs, allowing us to carry some of that verve inside, but I bet most of you don’t think about eating them. Many of these newly blossoming friends are edible and even have some nutritional benefits. Some edible and easy to find flowers are clover, violet, lilac, dandelion, peony, chrysanthemum, nasturtiums, calendula, golden rod, bee balm, jasmine, elder and linden.
Check out this link for a more complete list: http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm
I thought I would use this month’s article to share three of my favorite ways to incorporate flowers into your Spring and Summer Menus.
Salads – Let’s start off easy. Flowers like violets, dandelions, calendula and clover are easy to find, and all you need to do is step outside, pick a few, thank the plant, rinse them, and add them to your greens. Summertime is loaded with picnics and events like Pagan Pride. Making a Green Salad that is dusted with purple and white violets will be a show stopper. Adding a hand full of calendula to your favorite pasta salad fills the dish with vibrant streaks of golden yellow and orange.
Simple Syrups – This one is a little more work, but still not difficult. A simple syrup is made by taking equal parts of water and sugar and slowly heating them until the sugar is completely dissolved and suspended in the water. After you allow it to cool, you can use simple syrups to sweeten, iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee and your favorite cocktail. The switch up for my simple syrup is to make a variety of them that are flavored with flower. How delightful does rose lemonade sound or a lavender-infused gin & tonic? Flowers such as elder, lilac, rose, lavender, bee balm, thyme and mint which have stronger flavors work best. Once you have made them, you can use them to flavor the beverages I mentioned or add them to cake frostings, drizzle them into fruit salads, and brush them on grilled fruit for summer BBQs.
Simple Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water (room temperature)
- 1/2 – 1 cup flower of choice
Add water and sugar to sauce pan and place on medium heat. Stir mixture until sugar has completely dissolved and water has just come to a boil. Turn off heat and add flowers. Stir flowers in and make sure they are completely wet. Steep for fifteen minutes. Strain flowers using fine colander or cheese cloth.
Baking – Flowers can be added to cookies, cakes and breads. Bee balm or bergamot shortbread cookies are a favorite of mine; don’t worry I have shared the recipe, but I also love adding rose with chocolate or calendula to corn bread. You can even press flowers between layers of phyllo dough or pie crust.
Bee Balm Shortbreads
- 3/4 lb unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tbsp bee balm – finely minced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
In mixer, cream sugar and butter. When the color of butter and sugar has slightly lightened, add vanilla, bee balm and lemon zest mix until just incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and mix until the dough forms. Dump out on table and form ball. Roll ball into long snake or cylinder about two inches in diameter (square off edges if desired to form square cookies). Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight preferred. Remove dough from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cookie dough into slices about 1/4 thick. Bake for 10 -12 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool and devour.
Now that you have three methods you can use to add flowers to your ,you might be asking how this is Kitchen Witchery. In my opinion, every meal that we cook as a Witch is Magickal. We take care to gather the ingredients. We add each one to our cauldrons, now known as pots and pans, and stir away, creating a meal for those we love, providing them with energy and sustenance. The act of cooking in itself is one of transformation, but when we take a little more care with the ingredients we are adding the Magick of our foods start to really zing. Simple acts of charging your salt with protection and intentionally stirring in a particular directions make the mundane an act of Sorcery. With the topic of flowers in mind, we can carry these intentions a step further. You can choose flowers that correspond with your particular need. You can choose the color of the flower’s petals to reflect the spell you wish to weave into the food, or the scent of the flower to carry the spell to its target. Almost everyone I know associates roses with love. Nothing says Love Magick more to me than chocolate cupcakes with rose-infused chocolate frostings.
Now go outside. Pick and play but please make sure when gathering your new found friends, you know where you are getting them from and that they are not treated with anything that might be toxic.
Ryan is an ordained Minister and Seminary Graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft. Ryan is passionate about Kitchen Witchery, the creatures of the Green World, working with Plant Spirits, and making magick in daily life. Crafting herbal infusions, candles, and sacred tools, Ryan is co-creator of Drops of Three. You may visit his website at www.dropsofthree.storenvy.com.