Liz Knight of forage fine foods advises which edible summer flowers freeze well, and shares ideas about ways to use them at a later date.
- Honeysuckle – they’ll lose their colour in the freezer but keep their fresh perfume. Plunge frozen honeysuckle into hot simple syrup, or just boiled water for a natural sweet tea (reminiscent of iced tea) strain out the flowers, press & place into vodka to extract the last of the flavour in a tincture. Honeysuckle pairs with anise flavoured tarragon, dill & fennel, strong flavours like damsons & is great in vinegars making a fantastic shrub flavouring
- Carnations – peppery & spicey, Carnatiob flowers have delcious clove / nutmeg flavours. Used since 17th Century in the Monks tipple Chartreuse, Carnation flowers freeze well & their flavour smashes instantly into drinks.
- Red Clover flowers – pea, almond & floral tones. Red clover dries to a hay flavour or keeps its fresh scent through freezing. Goes well with perry pear & apple based drinks.
- Rose petals – wild & cultivated, snip off the white / yellow base of petals prior to freezing – the bases are bitter (you could try using them in floral bitters) – thaw into hot water or hot sugar syrup. I use lemon & orange to bring out flavour – sorrel & rose / rose & fennel are lovely combinations.
- Monarda Bergamot – This is the plant for you if you like a cup of sugary Earl grey Tea. The vivid red or purple flowers of bergamot are incredibly sweet & delicious, they freeze & thaw like pros, and make stunning, flavoursome garnishes.
- Phlox – mid – late summer flowering Phlox flowers taste like parma violet flavoured sweets – infuse them into sour apples to sweeten. I make a phlox & crab apple jelly delicious served on pork rillettes & have a hankering to stir a spoonful into a fat washed cocktail.
- Evening Primrose – sensational tasting evening primrose flowers from midsummer to early autumn, clean, perfumed with peppery tones. If you are lucky enough to come across mulberries, not much in life tastes better than evening primrose & mulberry. Muddle the flowers into mulberry & pear juice and add to gin.