Many plants grown for their flowers are cool season plants that thrive in South Louisiana from October through May. That makes right now an ideal time to harvest these edible flowers. Many of these plants began to bloom in late winter with their peak season right now.
Among the most popular edble flowers: chives, day lily, mint, panzees, rose, sage, marigold, and squash blossoms.
Other edible flowers inlcude passion flower, citrus, apple blossom, dandilions, elderberry, garlic chives, hibiscus, lavender, okra, garden peas, pineapple guaga, and yucca.
To ensure quality, pick edible flowers during the coolest part of the day, preferably in the early morning. Select flowers just before they reach their prime when they're not completely open. Harvest them on the day you intend to use them.
For long-stem flowers, place these flowers in a container of warm water and put them in a cool place until ready to use. For short-stem blossoms, pick them within three to four hours of use and store them between layers of damp paper towels. Just before using your edible flowers, gently wash them in cool water to wash off any soil.
Have you tried stuffed fried squash blossoms? Squash plants produce a lot more male flowers than female flowers. But only the female flowers turn intos quash. Harvest the male flowers just as they start to open. Stuff them with a tablespoon or two of ricotta cheese with cayenne. Deep fry until golden brown.
Remember, not all flowers are edible and some are even poisonous. If you're garnishing your dishes with flowers, be sure they're edible just in case somebody decides to consume what they see on their plate.