The Healing Nature of Edible Flowers and the Easy Switch to Natural Sweeteners
By Katja Meier, health nut and trained dietitian with a passion for plant-based nutrition
Something new to try:
It’s definitely edible flowers. They are not only a beautiful decoration, they are healthy too. Most of them contain Vitamin C, and some flowers also contain Vitamin D, like pumpkin flowers, or even Vitamin E, like rose petals, and lavender contains Vitamin A. They also contain minerals, like potassium, iron and even calcium. But the most exciting compounds in flowers are phytochemicals like flavonoids, which are responsible for the vibrant color and antioxidants. These compounds are able to fight cancer and to prolong our lives. If you want to use flowers, make sure they are really edible (for example, primula obconica is noxious, whereas primula vulgaris is edible) and buy organic plants or use flowers that you grow in your garden. Usually I don’t eat whole blossoms, but only petals. Whenever I use whole blooms for decorating, I dry them off afterwards and use the dried petals as an ingredient.
Try natural food colorings and natural sweeteners. They’re an affordable way to make our food more appetizing and healthier. When preparing porridge, I often use baked sweet potato (orange and purple ones) or baked beet to bring in some color. They are already sweet, so it’s not necessary to add any additional sweetener. I also use mashed banana or shredded apples as a natural sweetener both in porridge and overnight oats. Soaking overnight oats in rice milk saves sugar too, because rice milk is sweet by nature.
Chocolate Semolina Porridge
1 cup plant-based milk
1 tsp coconut cream (optional)
1 heaping tsp low fat cocoa powder
1 dash cinnamon
3 tbsp semolina
1 tsp raw cane sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
METHOD In a small saucepan, mix plant-based milk, coconut cream, raw cane sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon, and whisk in cocoa. Bring to a boil and whisk in semolina. Simmer on low heat, stirring constantly, until all the plant-based milk is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. I love to eat semolina porridge with fresh or frozen berries, oranges, banana slices and Cape gooseberries. Decorate with edible flowers, like primula vulgaris.