Archive for the ‘Chrysanthemum’ Category

Edible Flowers

We have ventured into growing flowers that you can eat.  Imagine having a salad of bright violet, yellow and fuchsia blossoms. Or having a cake strewn with flowers you can actually eat. Flowers are just too pretty not to eat right?  And since our flowers have been grown without pesticides, they are quite the safest to eat.

Pansies

There are a number of edible flowers. You can even grow them yourselves.  Just make sure that the flowers have not been sprayed or grown with chemicals. What are some of the edible flowers that we grow:

Let’s start with the most common culinary herbs flowers: You can actually eat the flowers of culinary herbs like thyme, sage, basil, rosemary, chives, cilantro, dill, and arugula. Their flowers are as tasty as the herb, even more attractive.

Nasturtiums

Next are the real flowers! Among our most popular edible flowers are the Butterfly Blue Pea.  The flower has been used in traditional Ayuverdic medicine for memory and its antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative qualities.  In Southeast Asia the flowers are used to color food or rice.. In Thailand, they use the flowers for a syrupy blue drink.  The flowers are also used in Burmese and Thai cuisine, dipped in batter and fried.

We also grow those bright and pretty nasturtiums. These are quite beautiful on the plate and the palate too.  They taste peppery and a bit like watercress. You can add these to salads, vegetable dishes and to make your herb butter, infuse your vinegar or even vodka. Then there’s the pansy flower, with its mild and minty flavor.  The rose petals are edible too!  There are different flavors, depending on the kind of rose variety, some a very mild whole others are quite lush you can use them for flavoring sweets and sorbets.  Chrysanthemums have been heavily used in Chinese cuisine and have a pungent, slightly bitter flavor. They can be used for garnishes.  Lastly, we grow snapdragons, which have a bitter taste but is used as a garnish.

If you want to grow edible flowers yourself, they are easily grown from seed (except for the roses and rosemary).  Just buy the seed packets and grow them in your garden or in pots.  Make sure you examine the blossoms well as you pick them, remove any insects or dirt and don’t go overboard. Use them in moderation in your salads and soups and lavishly for garnishing.

The most important thing to remember about edible flowers is to be fully familiar with them. Don’t go around the garden nibbling at everything- some flowers are poisonous and make sure they are organically grown. – David Hirsch

Taken in part: Old Farmer’s Almanac, Flower Gardening Secrets

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Nature’s Bounty

My profession is always to be alert, to find God in nature, to know God’s lurking places, to attend to all the oratorios and the operas in nature. Henry David Thoreau

Nature gives us the answer, if only we cared to look I have always wondered why we spend so much time looking elsewhere, for happiness, healing, pleasure, or serenity. We forget that nature envelopes us, and has handed us all our answers, if only we paid attention. Take the chrysanthemum. I walk through a field of our chrysanthemums in the farm, and without even trying, my heart delights in its simple splendour. It is often called the flower of the Sun. Why? Chrysanthemums are not only delightful flowers, these charming works of art can warm and fill your stomach, have healing properties, protect you from the outside world, and while doing all this, works with nature to prevent pollution.

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The flowers were first cultivated in China as far back as the 15th century B.C. Tao Qian, an influential Chinese poet, reveres the chrysanthemum for its symbolism of nobleness. In the 6th century AD, it was introduced in Japan. It was venerated as the symbol of the sun and as representing perfection. It was so loved that the Emperor adopted the flower as his official seal. In Japan, the Emperor’s position is called the Chrysanthemum throne. Europe named the flower from the Greek word “chrysous” meaning golden.

Chrysanthemums have been used for centuries as tea and food. Yellow or white chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make tea in some parts of Asia. The tea has many medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza. Extracts of Chrysanthemum plants (stem and flower) have been shown to have a wide variety of potential medicinal properties, including anti-HIV-1, antibacterial and antimycotic. In Chinese cuisine, Chrysanthemum leaves are steamed or boiled and used as greens. Others use the petals to mix with a thick snake meat soup in order to enhance the aroma. Have a problem with insects and bugs? Chrysanthemums are natural insecticides! The flowers are pulverized, and an active component (called pyrethrins) is applied in water or oil, or as a powder. Pyrethrins attack the nestockxpertcom_id34942451_jpg_e4b428d4c3bb4283f61d076fff4be142rvous systems of all insects, and inhibit female mosquitoes from biting. They are considered to be amongst the safest insecticides for use around food. As if these are not enough, Chrysanthemum plants have been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by the NASA Clean Air Study.

We are proud to be growing 20 different varieties of these flowers symbolizing the sun.  Our farm boasts of having 9 single standard varieties, 9 spray daisy types, santini spray types and button chrysanthemums. In fact, this is the most delightful spot in our farm, you see colors of all shades, from deep purples to lime greens.  We even have purple anemones!

The Chrysanthemum is just one little flower, among the multitude of gifts nature has given us.  It’s a pity we still have to wonder and look elsewhere, when we already have the answer.

Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff. Ralph Waldo Emerson

How to make the most out of your flowers

There’s nothing like fresh flowers around the house, especially when they come straight from MyFlowerDepot. Surely you’d like the flowers to last forever or at least for more than a few days! Here are some tips for extending the vase life of your flowers.

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In a NUTSHELL:

  • Give them water.
  • Give them food.
  • Protect them from decay or infection.
  • Keep them cool and out of direct sunlight.

How do you ensure these:

 

 

1.  Recut stems at a 45 degree angle. 

Recut stems on a slant indoors under water to eliminate air bubbles that block uptake of food and water. The angle increases the amount of water absorbed.

To prevent decay, remove leaves and foliage below the water line.  If the leaves are submerged in the water in the vase, they will die and cause the flowers in the bouquet to rot.

2.  Place the flowers in a clean vase.

Dirty and dusty vases are often filled with bacteria. These bacteria can cause the flowers to quickly wilt and die.

3.  To slow aging, place the vase in a well-ventilated cool place (as low as 38° F).

Keep the flowers in a cool room. The fresh flowers should not be in direct sun or placed near a heating source. This causes the water in the vase to evaporate quickly.  Also, don’t store flowers near ripening fruits and vegetables, which produce ethylene, a gas that hastens ripening, or in the case of flowers, aging.

Hydrangea

4.  Add water.

Freshly cut flowers have enough stored sugars to survive in a vase. But if you would like to add a preservative, try adding sugar. However, sugar can cause bacteria to grow (so we prefer you just change the water regularly).

5.  Change water and cut the ends constantly.

Change water every couple of days. In mixed bouquets, some of the flowers may give off sap that is toxic to other varieties in the vase shortening their vase life, a process that is avoided by frequently refreshing the water.  Replace the water in the vase at least every three to four days.  Every time you replace the water, also cut the stems.