If ever there was an easy and clever way to dress up your summer drinks, this is it: floral ice cubes. We've taken a cue from spas around the world, and took our favorite edible blossoms from garden to glass.
They're a pretty, eye-popping addition to beverages, especially clear mixed drinks with gin, vodka and club soda; plus, they actually complement the flavor of a drink when paired with the right beverage. Best part? They're super easy to make. Just try it and see...
Making the cubes
1. Select edible flowers that are organically grown (or ones from your garden) so as to avoid ingesting chemicals. We recommend snipping flowers that are small enough to fit into an ice cube tray, removing outer leaves if necessary to make the blossom fit. Or, purchase larger silicone ice cube/ice ring forms to use in punch bowls.
2. Dip the flower in cool water to remove obvious dirt and bugs.
3. Place the flower in the ice cube tray. Fill halfway with cool water. (Flowers won’t stay submerged but that’s okay.) Freeze for 12 hours or until hard. Fill the remainder of the ice cube tray with cool water and freeze for another 12 hours. Use within two weeks.
Selecting the right flowers
For the best blossoms, pick early or late in the day when the flowers are cool and tastiest. Avoid flowers that are wilted or have obvious blemishes. Remove the inside of the flower before eating.
Totally edible flowers
- Honeysuckle—sweet flavor
- Violas, pansies—sweet flavor
- Violets—sweet to sour flavor
Note: Except for violas and pansies, the part right below the blossom is not tasty, so avoid it.
Flowers with edible petals
If the above flowers are in short supply, you can still make beautiful ice cubes using just the petals of these flowers:
- African marigold—strong, pungent flavor
- Chives—strong onion flavor
- Dandelions—honey-like when young; slightly bitter when mature
- Dianthus—spicy clove flavor
- Garland chrysanthemums—mild flavor
- Hibiscus—citrus and cranberry
- Honeysuckle—honey taste
- Lavender—floral taste with hint of mint/rosemary
- Marigolds—peppery, tangy taste
- Petunia—mild flavor
- Roses—sweet to bitter with a hint of spice. The darker the color, the deeper the flavor.
- Scented geranium—flavors range from apple to lemon depending on the color
- Tulips—sweet With these flowers, avoid eating the white portion at the base of the petal—it’s bitter.
Word to the wise: Proceed with caution. If you’re not sure if a flower is safe to eat, DON’T EAT IT! People with hay fever, asthma or allergies should not eat flowers. Flowers are pretty to look at, but eating too many can cause intestinal upset. For more information on edible flowers, check out http://garden.org/ediblelandscaping/ or your local horticultural center.