Alongside a diverse color palette, Dianthus flowers are fragrant blooms that never fail to enchant the hearts of many.
Thus, read till the end so you know which Dianthus species are edible and tips to eat them properly with necessary precautions.
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Are All Dianthus Edible?
Commonly known as Carnation and Pinks, Dianthus is a flowering genus prized for its elegant, toothed five-petaled flowers.
Apart from ornamental flowers, Dianthus is also a popular name, thanks to its culinary usage.
So, remember not all Dianthus are edible for you to use in your kitchen.
Meanwhile, common edible Dianthus species are Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William), caryophyllus (Carnation), chinensis, and plumarius (Pinks).
The fragrant Dianthus flowers have a sweet, spicy, clove-like taste or flavor.
But beware! Flower petals are the only edible part of the Dianthus, as the leaves are mildly poisonous.
Even the Dianthus flower petal base or calyx is inedible as they are bitter and can ruin the overall floral taste.
What are the Health Benefits of the Dianthus Flower?
Since ancient times, the Dianthus flowers have been profusely used as a medicine for various ailments.
Both ancient Chinese and Western practitioners used the Dianthus flower to regularize bowel movements.
Nowadays, entire plant parts are used to prepare medicine for gonorrhea, asthma, and gum infections.
They are also commonly used as an effective tonic to lower intermittent fever and chest congestion.
Moreover, the fragrance of Dianthus flowers is profusely used to prepare essential oils that alleviate stress and lower anxiety.
Having that said, you must not eat or try Dianthus flower as a remedy if you are a pregnant woman or have an infant.
How To Eat Dianthus?
The elegant Dianthus flower petals have a balanced sweet flavor that complements various dishes flawlessly.
Dianthus flower petals are often used to garnish soups, punch bowls, and salads.
Furthermore, they also make excellent colorful culinary elements to decorate salads and desserts like cake or ice cream.
Then, you can harvest healthy flowers that are not wilting or drooping in the morning.
After that, properly clean them to remove any dirt and pests and then use them in the desired way.
Here are some top recipes to use Dianthus flower petals.
1. Crystallized Dianthus Flower
- Place parchment paper atop a baking sheet.
- Carefully whisk the egg white and water till they become foamy.
- Use a clean oil brush, dip it in egg white mixture, and gently coat the flower.
- Ensure to coat the entire flower thoroughly to avoid letting them turn brown.
- Sprinkle the fine granulated sugar atop the coated flower evenly on both sides.
- Put the coated flowers on the prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat the process for all flowers.
- Let the flowers rest to make them dry at an average cool, dry room temperature for almost 12-36 hours.
- Store the hardened flowers in an airtight container, layered between parchment paper, in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
- You can decorate cakes and desserts by adding crystallized Dianthus flowers.
2. Dianthus Petal Salad
- Carefully rinse off the flowers using cool water without damaging the petals.
- Pat the flowers dry using a clean towel or let them air dry for a few minutes.
- Remove the Dianthus flower calyx, as they are bitter and not inedible.
- Combine the salad greens, sliced fruits like strawberries, goat cheese crumbles, and toasted walnuts.
- Toss the Dianthus flower over the mixed salads.
- Enjoy the colorful, fresh salad that tastes good and is also good for your health.
Edible to Humans But Not to Pets!
Although edible Dianthus flowers offer many health benefits, they are toxic and poisonous to pets like cats and dogs.
Accidental ingestion of Dianthus flowers in pets can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.
Thus, in such scenarios, immediately seek professional veterinarian help for medical assistance.