Flowers, or specifically the
flowers of some plants have long been used for flavoring and coloring food.
Among the most popular of these are the saffron and the chamomile.
Saffron (crocus sativus) is
used for coloring and flavoring dishes. It is one of the most expensive of
culinary ingredients as not all parts of the crocus flower from which it comes
from is used. In fact, only the stigmas of the flowers—the female reproductive
organ of the flower—is collected from each blossom.
Saffron is painstakingly
cultivated in the milder parts of Europe. Since the stigmas of the crocus flower
is very small, you can just imagine how much crocus flower is needed just to get
a pinch of saffron. As such, it is very expensive. Fortunately for gourmands,
nature compensates as only a small amount of saffron is enough to color a dish.
Yes, color! Although, saffron
does impart a mild flavor, it’s more desirable as a culinary ingredient
because of the golden color it imparts to foodstuff. Rice dishes, especially
those of Spanish or of Mediterranean provenance usually use saffron.
Another highly desired flower
is chamomile (matricaria camomilla), the blossoms of which are used for making
tea or tisanes—if you’re Italian. Anyway, the chamomile’s flower
delicate-looking and resembles a daisy. It is deemed medicinal as chamomile
soothes the nerves, especially if one is feeling anxious.