Updated December 21st, 2023 at 18:38 IST

Rose to Hibiscus: Edible flowers and their potential health benefits

Flowers can be more than just dining table decorations. Using flowers, here are some recipes you can experiment with at home.

Flowers in food | Image:Shutterstock

While flower arrangements as dinner table centrepieces are a traditional and enduring custom, flowers can also appear on your dinner plate. Around the world, edible flowers are used in a wide variety of culinary traditions and are served on menus. While not all flowers are suitable for consumption, those that are can give salads, sauces, drinks, and entrées a distinctive pop of colour and flavour. Some of them might even be beneficial to your health. 

Jasmine and Hibiscus for consumption

There are many flowers used in Indian recipes, but the most common flowers used are the banana blossom, papaya flower, palash flowers, neem flowers and rose. Every state in India has its own method of using its edible flowers, from rasams to curry, from fritters to tea. In Assam, people add night jasmine (xewali) to Khar -- a traditional alkaline-based dish of pulpy vegetables, which uses a variety of indigenous ingredients.

Jasmine flowers 


Jasmine tea is also known to lower blood pressure and give a boost to your system. Tamil Nadu and other states like to use the bitter neem flower, which has excellent blood-purifying properties and serves great during the summers as rasam.

Hibiscus flowers have a citrusy and slightly bitter flavour. They can be used to impart a fresh taste to desserts and also feature in Andhra Pradesh’s popular local dish 'Gongura Pachadi'.


Various edible parts of the plant 

Rose petals are used for creating gulkand. Dried roses are used in sweets or creating syrups -- not just for their flavours but also for the cooling properties that they have. Sometimes the presence of these edible flowers in a cuisine simply comes out of a desire to not waste anything. For example: Bengali cuisine. Bengali people eat the leaves, stems, barks, seeds, peels and even flowers of a plant. Like Italian Zucchini flower fritters, Bengalis use a lot of flowers to make bhaja (fritters).

A rose 


Many of these flowers, however, are seasonal and you have to wait for the right time of the year to obtain them. While fresh bok phool can be used as the house decor, they’re simply far more wonderful when turned into a plate of bhaja. Perfect with your cuppa. You can use regular besan pakora batter or even rice flour to make the texture crunchy.


(with inputs from IANS)



Published December 21st, 2023 at 14:47 IST