Farmers' Market Finds: Flowers and Blossoms

Farmers' Market Finds: Flowers and Blossoms

Every year and season I find something that's new to me at the market. It's a great excuse to learn about a few new ingredients and try out some new recipes.

One of the more interesting things at my market last weekend was a bag of arugula flowers for sale. Ironically enough, I was feeling badly about having let the arugula in my garden go to flower and missing out on my anticipated harvest.

The farmer told me that the flowers can be used in salads, so, congratulating myself on the money my neglect had saved me, I headed home to put my flowers to good use.

Arugula Flowers ~
Arugula flowers are small white pinwheels with a touch of burgundy. They show up nicely on green lettuce. Once I popped one in my mouth, I discovered that they have a milder pepper flavor than arugula leaves. I used them to garnish individual salads and plated them on my square dinnerware. They added a really attractive touch to the plate in addition to their subtle, peppery flavor.

Chive Flowers ~
Chive flowers are another great ingredient you'll find at the farmers' market. Making chive blossom vinegar is one of the traditional ways you can use them. Just rinse and dry them, put them in a jar and cover them with vinegar. After about two weeks you'll have a beautiful pink vinegar to use in your salad dressings. Their light onion taste is much milder than you'd expect, so taste the vinegar before you use it. You may want to steep it a little longer. The flowers themselves make a great garnish on soups or deviled eggs as well. You can even scatter them over your dinnerware as part of a decorative table setting.

Zucchini Flowers ~
While zucchini blossoms aren't new to me, the first ones of the season always make me feel like a kid at Christmas. When I see the tiny squash attached to the large yellow flowers, or even a bag of the flowers alone, I start thinking about what to stuff them with. I never understand how people can have too many zucchini when I eat so many of the blossoms that I don't get as much fruit. Try stuffing them with a goat cheese, chive flower, and arugula flower combo. Then batter with a light egg batter and fry. Repeat and enjoy!

Article contributed by Kathy Hester

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