Edible flowers, a nutritious food source are mostly overlooked in cooking, though they are more commonly used for cake decorations and in fruit and flower arrangements or bouquets To Jiao Mingyao, a cooking expert, the flowers of a plant can be eaten if the roots, stems, leaves and fruits of the plant are edible. In preparing edible flowers for cooking, he would first poach them in salt water before making a stir fry, soup or porridge with the flowers. To Wang Yi, of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, the influence of floral fragrance on the liver is that of easing bodily tensions. Besides, flowers also contain glucoside, which is believed to be beneficial for your body. For example, quercetin glucosides with anti-allergic properties are found in the flower buds of the Japanese butterbur, a popular vegetable. Tonkin Jasmine My floral eating experience starts with clusters of fragrant, tiny greenish white Tonkin jasmine flowers growing on a backyard vine. Whether cooked as a garlicky stir fry or made into a soup, fresh Tonkin flowers offer a unique dining experience. Brimming with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins A and C, this edible flora is a feast for the eyes and the skin. Moringa Flower On the other hand, I have yet to make a dish of the creamy white moringa flowers growing plentifully on trees in the neighborhood. A good source of both calcium and potassium, this delish flora makes a novel salad or stir fry. Banana Flower As for the banana flower, it cannot be cooked right away; the white florets must be stripped of the hard pistils and scales; and the white pith, of the maroon bracts. It is only after stripping off all these unwanted parts that the banana heart and the cleaned florets are ready for preparation. Thinly sliced, the banana blooms are then stir-fried with garlic, shallots, coriander and salt. This native food is immensely rich in vitamins along with dietary fibers, proteins and unsaturated fatty acids. Papaya Flower Since the male papaya plants do not produce papaya fruits, their flower buds are picked and stir-fried with garlic, shallots and salt, as usually. Nutrition-wise, the white male papaya flower is rich in vitamins A, C and E; for example, its Vitamins C and E protect your liver from the harmful effects of free radicals while its Vitamin C is a cure for respiratory diseases. All in all, the unpretentious papaya bloom is a good source of dietary fiber, folate and antioxidants which prevent free radicals from damaging your tissues and are good for strokes, heart diseases and diabetes. With our diet centered around the fruit rather than the flower, we tend to neglect the papaya flora despite its high nutritive content. Durian Flower Then there are the strongly scented durian flowers, a harbinger of coming plenty as it draws all pollinators like fruit bats to its nectar. The yellowish petals are crunchy, slightly fragrant and sweetish. Like the banana flower, durian blooms must be first stripped of all superfluous parts except for the stamens (without the anthers) and petals, and then lightly blanched for a salad. It is noted that durian blooms, rich in vitamins C and B, minerals and fiber, last only for a day, during which they are pollinated and then drop off to be gathered under the tree early in the morning. Pumpkin Flower In comparison to the more exotic Asian flowers, the pumpkin flower is relatively easier to prepare; only the yellow petals and peeled stalks are needed while the rest of the flower parts like calyx, sepals and stamen are discarded. With a nice supply of vitamins especially folate, a stir-fry of pumpkin flowers is a healthy culinary treat. Luther Burbank says, ‘Flowers… are sunshine food and medicine for the soul’. So, please eat the daisies – they will brighten up your health.