01 Jun2011

I was at the Centris Market (previously the market at the Lung Center) a couple of months ago, but never got around to doing a post on the market. It is wonderful. A bit crazed and crowded and parking can be an issue, but I liked the selection of goods and many of my suki’s from other parts of town also have stalls there. But the one stall that really got my antennae up was this small staff of Eli Organics that had a nice selection of organically grown greens, herbs, etc. They actually had a line 10-15 long waiting to pay. On closer inspection, I figured out why…

Incredibly vibrant and fresh greens, healthy looking herbs, unusual produce…

…I also spied a fairly large selection of edible flowers (mostly nasturtiums I think) so I decided to bring a few home, along with chicory, basil, dill, etc. Nasturtiums are a type of water cress, I just learned from a quick google.

I use edible flowers in salads, but mainly, as a garnish for special meals, usually those with guests for dinner. They are just a little something extra, and while you probably couldn’t tell that they were in your salad if you were eating blindfolded, they do add a burst of color and interest. At PHP5 each they aren’t cheap, but they aren’t too extravagant, either. Just a few really perk up a platter. I haven’t been back to the Centris market in recent weeks, but I am certainly going back to this stall…



  1. sister says:

    I’ve put flowers on salads over the years to brighten up the plate but have found absolutely no one eats them and they are still on the plate after dinner… why? At $5. a pint box it’s a great garnish but I wish guests would try eating the flowers.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 4:55 pm


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  3. millet says:

    same experience as sister’s. But they do add great visual interest. I love the red katuray flowers, and marigold. Vicky, the owner of Bohol Bee Farm, practically begs guests to eat the flowers in the salads, but they’re almost always left on the plates. On the other hand, I once made sugared rose petals to strew all over the table (not edible at all!), and some guests ended up eating them, so I don’t do that anymore.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 5:05 pm

  4. Jake Speed says:

    @sister – were the guests informed that they could be eaten? i saw an episode in Tablescapes wherein Bougainvillaea leaves were added to the salad. apparently, the leaves had a slightly bitter aftertaste, which can be a turn-off to some.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 5:12 pm

  5. Connie C says:

    I have a vine in my garden that gives perpetual blooms of purple flowers. It must be a relative of sweet peas as they have similar pods. I steep a few blossoms for tea with some lemon balm leaves also from the garden. For company, I would float a flower over the tea that has this beautiful intense purple color after a minute or two of steeping. I am told the brew has mood relaxing properties.

    I tell my guests it is not potassium permanganate and the blossom is actually edible. On occasion I would use the purple flowers to garnish an omelet or salad.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 6:03 pm

  6. Jonts says:

    I used to work with bunches of edible flowers when I was in the US and they really do look pretty, but they taste real awful. My co-worker told me that it doesn’t mean that its edible it should taste good. Haha.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 7:27 pm

  7. Footloose says:

    I knew for a long time that marigold are given to poultry to make the yolks of the eggs they lay a lovely goldenrod but it never crossed my mind that non-avians can dine on them too. I guess for those who eat like birds that’s why they have to be strewn around the table to entice them to peck. But down our way, when kakawate trees break out like cherry blossom in spring, we gather the flowers that look like tiny katuray blossoms for salad.

    In one of the early Pink Panther movies, I recall Peter Sellers eating a bunch of red roses, a whole arrangement of large American Beauties. And then there’s a splendid yarn from the winner of the 1995 LA Times book price, Blue Afternoon by William Boyd, set in 1910 Manila, chockfull of truly surprising Filipino historical allusions such as the Balanguiga massacre and astounding inventions such as a Filipino canine Dr. Frankenstein and his aviation enthusiast assistant who predated both the brothers Wright and Santos Dumont, the epic being tied together by the principal character’s fondness for candied violets.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 8:22 pm

  8. EbbaBlue says:

    I didn’t know marigolds are edible; I do have pansies and violets though and I think they can be eaten. With nasturtiums, I tried to grow them more than twice and no luck.. expensive plant in a pot, and when I tried to transfer them into the ground, they withered and dry. I myself tried some white decorative flower on a cake (I hope they are edible, if not why did they put it as a topping on the cake), and yes they taste bitter, but not much, it just like some other herbs and dandelions leaves. I guess its really all in the mind, coz remember the green ketchup? No matter how the publicity and marketing the manufacturer did, this product did not last long with the consumer.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 8:47 pm

  9. chris y. says:

    This is quite an interesting post, I’ve been wondering where I could find these around the metro. what I’ve actually been thinking of where I could find some sort of the essence or extract of local flowers that could be used for cooking. I always imagined some sort of sorbet, ice cream or cheesecake with the faint scent of Sampaguita or Ilang Ilang that’ll make you pause, think, and affirm that it is the flower. I looked around the net and asked a chemical engineer if I could do it at home, but the processes seemed time consuming and tedious for the untrained. But then again, it might not be a very good idea either way hahaha =) Anyway, thanks for the post MM, cheers to ya!

    Jun 1, 2011 | 9:16 pm

  10. Footloose says:

    Not as exorbitantly inaccessible as you might think. A few of the equipment required in molecular cooking are just slowly coming into the consumer market now and one in particular, a pressure controllable alembic makes it easier to do what you are thinking. Incidentally, in Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection/ Peking Duck, he lightly spritzed the serving plate with an edible jasmine essence to conjure an authentic Chinese ambience and that scent is as close as you can get to our own sampaguita.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 9:37 pm

  11. chris y. says:

    Thanks for that bit of information, Footloose. It is very much appreciated! I like that anecdote that you raised regarding Blumenthal’s use of jasmine essence to help with the ambiance. It’s like evoking a memory through the sense of smell. I guess, that is one of those properties that make us enjoy food so much is how it takes us back to a certain point in time(in his case China). Like when we try a dish for the first time or try the best interpretation of it, or even to the most basic flashback of our memories of home or our childhood. Little accents like these edible flowers or the essences that I hope to one day find (and use successfully!) might make that big difference in adding to the over all experience in table. Anyway, I sure am rambling, please excuse me for being suddenly excited about it. Good food-related news is always exciting to me!

    Jun 1, 2011 | 9:58 pm

  12. Connie C says:

    Some flower scents can be difficult to ingest but I don’t mind them behind my ears.

    I remember it took me a while to get used to jasmine tea and then something I will probably never get used to as in rose water flavored desserts or refreshing drink …… conjures of image not so appetizing as that of a sweaty tour guide in Nepal reeking of rose water after shave while the scent of the rose water drink from dinner the night before was still fresh in my nasal memory.

    They are indeed a matter of taste, and smell.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 10:38 pm

  13. betty q. says:

    One of the flowers that my friends gobble up are daylilies. They have a sweetish perfumy taste(not as overpowering though as Ms. Connie C’s Nepal’s guide kili-kili…hahahaha) that is quite delightful. Other flowers I grow are mainly used as insect repellant or as companion planting.

    If you have a lot growing in your garden Ms. Connie C. and do not fancy eating them, throw them in a bowl add water. then add a smaller bowl inside the big bowl. When hardened you will have a container in the summer to put chilled salads or cold soup (fruit or vegetable).

    Oh, does your apo like bubble tea? Jasmine tea is what they use for Honey Green Milk tea which is one of my favorites….add some honey and COFFEE MATE! ..that is the cream they use.

    MM…maybe if you coat them in tempura batter and deep-fry, then garnish your warm salads with it, your guests will eat them! Try it with a warm duck salad with frisee.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 12:22 am

  14. wisdom tooth says:

    @ Connie.
    Hi Connie, if you are from the Bay/North Bay area in California, I would like to know where you can purchase edible flowers in this area. I just wnat to put some colors in our salad to compensate for the gloomy/weird weather we’re having in Northern Ca. Thanks!

    Jun 2, 2011 | 1:33 am

  15. Nina says:

    Footloose, there is a store in Madrid, La Violeta, that only sells candied violets and anything that has essence of violets. A favorite, I still have a stash of these candies way back from my Spain trip 2 years ago…..it has a long shelf life. Connie, chinese rose wine which is used in char siu gives it that certain “je ne se quois”……it’s actually a sorghum liquor distilled with rock sugar and rose petals…….very hard to find even in chinese groceries but you just need a tbsp. or so for every pound of meat.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 3:05 am

  16. Connie C says:

    Hi bettyQ: yeah, the body scent too , ha, ha,ha, ( and I thought I was being polite!) but Nina, for me, a rose is a rose is a rose and no way will I ever get that certain “je ne se quois” you associate with the rose wine in char sui. However, I don’t mind the 5 or 8 spice aromatics with it, which may mask the rose scent somewhat if I’ve ever had anything with it.

    wisdom tooth: I am actually in the East Coast and the vine with the purple flowers grows in my garden in Puerto Princesa, sorry. Wish I had it here because I miss it with my breakfast.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 3:29 am

  17. benny says:

    @EbbaBlue- Nasturtiums have a delicate root system and are notorious for not wanting to be replanted. They do best when you start them from seed. The seeds can be planted directly in the gound when it’s warm enough, but I have had better luck starting them indoors. I don’t know where you are in the US, but here in zone 5, what I do is start the seeds indoors in early-mid May, then as soon as they sprout but haven’t really rooted yet, I transfer them gently to their final spot in the garden. They do well in containers and in the ground. They’re really not hard to grow, they just don’t want to be moved around once they start rooting. Also, they have a nice peppery taste, and add color to salads.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 8:09 am

  18. kurzhaar says:

    Rose petals are in fact quite edible (trim away the base of the petal)

    Nasturtiums grow like weeds just as watercress does–but they don’t like too-rich soil (they’ll either not grow or only produce leaves) or too much water. I’ve grown them successfully in every state I’ve lived in (West coast zone 10 to East coast zone 6) without any problem…I’ve literally grown them in a hot west-facing side yard paved with gravel and they seemed to love the challenge and grew like gangbusters! They will self-seed if happy and can take over a sunny spot to spectacular effect.
    The whole plant is edible. I like the flowers stuffed with goat cheese (a plateful of these at a party always disappears rapidly), the leaves used in any way you’d use watercress (some varieties have beautifully cream/green variegated or blue-green leaves), and the green seeds lightly pickled.

    Not all marigolds (Tagetes species) are edible. Some may be technically edible or at least non poisonous but they taste vile…not surprising that some of these are grown for their insect-repelling properties! Look for the “gem” marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia) which are small-flowered and have a bright citrusy taste. They are easy to grow and you can buy these seeds from herb/vegetable seed catalogues. A related species is the so-called Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) which has small edible yellow flowers but is grown mainly for its leaves which are a decent substitute for true French tarragon.

    Pot marigold is of course edible and used medicinally but it is in a different genus (Calendula officinalis) from the Tagetes marigolds.

    Many herb flowers are edible as well–basil, chives, dill, fennel, borage, cilantro, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme flowers (and I’m sure many more) can all be used to good effect. Lavender (in restraint!) is tasty as well.

    Hibiscus flowers are tasty and commonly used in Mexico for making the “jamaica” drink. Squash blossoms are commonly eaten around the world, I love them stuffed and baked or in soups or quesadillas. Garden pea flowers are edible (if you can resist leaving them on the plant to make peas)–but the ornamental sweet pea flower is TOXIC. White yucca flowers are tasty and crunchy. :)

    And of course everyone eats broccoli and cauliflower and artichokes–all of which are flowers.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 12:11 pm

  19. Footloose says:

    @Connie C, am still curious what those purple flowers from a vine that gave you a mild buzz might be, wisteria? jade vine? where did you get it and how did you find out its infusion can be taken internally (without immediate side effects or obvious withdrawal symptoms other than propensity to leave cryptic comments in a food blog). Being a perennial baby myself, I do not stray too far from camomile for my non-alcoholic charge and would like to know how I may safely venture farther from my comfort zone.

    The sense of smell is one of our most powerful triggers of recall or recoil (in your case). Remember it was the scent of madeleines dipped in tisane (more precisely, a decoction of lime blossoms) that triggered the avalanche of Proust’s remembrance (four thick volumes on bible paper in the Pléiade edition). Imagine the arbiter elegantiarum, the psycho-analyst of nineteenth century French high society himself doing that and all the while we hide and feign not to ever doing it and look askance at people who dunk solid food in hot beverage as oh so very uncouth.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 7:00 pm

  20. Connie C says:

    Footloose: Funny, but was just doing a bit of research a minute ago to share the information in this blog.

    My butterfly pea vine with a delightful ( bettyQ) botanical name must have come from Thailand where they use it as tea infusion for its antioxidant properties ( proanthocyanidin) The lady at the organic garden in Puerto Princesa who gave it to me said it has mood relaxing properties and I took it as that. When you add lemon to it, the brilliant blue purple color turns to a nice purple pink, the color of potassium permanganate….and tho not so appetizing or romantic a comparison, is the perfect color I associate it with. It is also used as a food dye.

    Here’s the link:


    And OH Footloose: I’d love to see and browse thru your library and am really jealous about the fountain of information you contribute to this blog.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 7:26 pm

  21. Footloose says:

    Thanks Connie C for the link. The Latin name alone would be enough for me to dive into its decoction without restrain. There have been discussions of this curious flower hereabouts, apparently, the local (in Luzon) name for it is pukinggan. Lovely name ain’t it?

    Jun 2, 2011 | 7:32 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Footloose, hahaha, it must be getting hotter in Toronto… Connie, thanks for the link…

    Jun 2, 2011 | 8:32 pm

  23. betty q. says:

    Ms. Connie C…if you miss that vine…Jungle seeds has them. It is company based in UK and guess what…they have YLANG-YLANG seeds…the dwarf kind which I am interested in. …won’t overwinter though so if I do buy the seeds, they will stay indoors.

    …BTW….got my fish,…will can this week-end and send you a case by Pony Express!

    Jun 2, 2011 | 10:43 pm

  24. Footloose says:

    Still in the subject of edible flowers, did you know that aloe vera blossoms are eaten in Mexico? They call the plant sábila just like we Filipinos do. Brazlians on the other hand call it babosa which means malaway in Filipino.

    Here is a link from one of my favorite foodblogs. http://come-se.blogspot.com/2011/05/flor-de-babosa-para-comer.html Unforch it’s in Brazilian Portuguese so I shall translate the first paragraph for those interested:

    I learned for the first time that aloe vera flower is edible from Carmen, a Mexican who has a blog that I adore and where I learn a ‘mouthful’ about Mexican ingredients. Afterwards, I also saw some flowers from a catalog edited by Slow Food about food resources of the state of Puebla. And cited here is the flower of sábila as it is known in Mexico. Furthermore, Carmen thinks that the name we call the plant is funny. “Really amusing name. Here we call a foolish and careless woman to whom stupid things happen ‘babosa.’”

    Jun 2, 2011 | 10:48 pm

  25. Connie C says:

    bettyQ: Wow! thanking you in advance at maanggihan ako ng napakalaking biyaya from your heavenly kitchen.

    Something coming your way in return.

    Thanks MM for allowing us these liberties in your blog.

    Footloose: you too are so amusing in how you find connections between food, language, literature and all sorts of things. You remind me of my now deceased mother in law, a renaissance woman. She had a PhD in the romance languages after shifting her scholarship from Pharmacy/ Chemistry and also spoke Portuguese among the other 4 or 5 languages she spoke.

    Jun 3, 2011 | 2:38 am

  26. limz says:

    ulang is very delicious with coco fresh cream with kulitis or local spinach,pig weed and fresh chop chillies.so yummy.

    Jun 5, 2011 | 3:04 pm

  27. Esdras L. Inocencio says:

    Good afternoon to all the readers on this particular topic “Edible Flowers” especially to MM for featuring my fresh edible flowers in Sidcor Sunday Market at Eton Centris Mall. Many thanks to “Enya” my client, my friend for the information that these flowers were being shown on the net.
    To all the constructive comments, thanks for all the reactions and comments, reviews that will serve as bases for future works on edible flowers. Actually, i started offering those flowers still we were in Lung Center of the Philippines and still continued to the Centris Mall.
    At first, i experienced that some of my co-traders make me a laughing stuff (a person who sell flowers as in the case of the wheat grass, where i was taunted by some underprivileged workers in our stall row. As an agriculturist, i was not affected for their discouraging behaviour .

    Thanks for all the clients who made purchases for all edible flowers. Hoped, i will add more kinds as long as it is readily available in the farm @ Bais Multifarms, Inc. at Brgy Plaridel , Lipa City.

    Expects more wisdom from the wise men. Thank you @ God Bless You all.

    Jun 5, 2011 | 5:45 pm

  28. Jen says:

    Hi! I would like to buy edible flowers. Is your stall still at Centris Market? Thanks!

    Jul 29, 2012 | 10:45 am

  29. Paulo marimat says:

    am looking for an edible flower supplier…. Do you have any contact number that I can reach? Thanks

    Apr 4, 2013 | 3:17 pm


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