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Edible flowers can take the cake

By Debbi Snook, The Plain Dealer

Who knew that violas — bigger than a violet, smaller than a pansy — had such a heady fragrance? Yet when Mark Toocheck lifts the plastic tarp from a raised bed of the perky-faced flowers, the lilac-like scent of a flower garden whooshes out.

The taste comes later.

Edible Flowers by Crystallized Flower

Yes, taste. These yellow and purple flowers are edible, something we might not think about until we learn that Mark’s wife, Karen, washes and sugarcoats them for as much as a year of extended life. Most will end up on cakes or cupcakes at special occasions across the country, delivering the surprise factor that Karen loves.

“Everybody says, ‘I didn’t know you could eat these,'” she said.

You can eat some flower species, but not all of them, a difference that can get tricky. Karen uses day lilies, which are edible, but not Asiatic lilies, which are poisonous. Click here for a long list of edible flowers and herbs.

Every flower Karen makes in her home business, Crystallized Flower Co. in Willoughby, has a delicate snap and a little different flavor, some harder to detect than others.

“The day lilies are a little sweet and sour,” she said. “The violas are a little like parsley, and the borage like cucumber.”

Continue reading HERE

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