Saturday, December 19, 2015

Chrysanthemums in the Garden and Kitchen






Chrysanthemums are blooming in the garden and I took a picture of some white ones just a little while ago. They are delightful flowers to have around the garden because they come in so many shapes and colors and bloom profusely. After the season is over, one can cut them down and they will come up again the following year.

Chrysanthemums sometimes called mums belong to the family Asteraceae, the most widely prevalent flower family on the planet. In many parts of the world these flowers are connected to peace for the soul after departure from this life and are therefore an ideal gift for funerals and caskets of the departed. Therefore it is not recommended that these be gifted to anyone on other occasions unless one wishes to rush them to their graves. In some countries they gift this to mothers but it would be wiser to gift pink roses or carnations in any color to a mother.

The flower petals may be used as a garnish in various recipes and in China they eat both the leaves and flowers but perhaps that is not advisable seeing that the flowers is also used as an organic insecticide. However moderate use as a garnish should be just fine. Another way to use these is as a tea of the dried petal either by themselves or mixed with dried petals of other edible flowers you have access too.

Chrysanthemum Tea 

According to traditional Chinese medicine this tea has many claimed medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza and acne as also for as varicose veins, atherosclerosis. It also seems to help for blood pressure and angina.  In Korea, it is known well for its medicinal use for making people more alert and is often used as a pick-me-up to render the drinker more awake. In traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum tea is also said to clear the liver and the eyes. It is also used to treat blurring, spots in front of the eyes, diminished vision, and dizziness. However scientific studies are awaited to verify these claims.

To prepare the tea, chrysanthemum flowers (usually dried) are steeped in hot water after just removing it from a boil. Adding a cinnamon stick to the water while it is boiling improves the tea and aroma. You may pour the hot water over the flowers in teapot, cup, or mug. Let infuse for between five and fifteen minutes. Add sugar or honey to it  according to taste The resulting drink may be transparent or colored depending upon the color of flower. Chrysanthemum tea seems to have been first drunk during the Song dynasty (960–1279) in China

To dry your own chrysanthemum flowers, pick in sunlight hours only, never after sun down (they release undesirable hormones at that time as do all other plants). Wash, Pluck petals and leave in a shaded spot to dry over a few days. When fully dry, sun for a few hours and pack in a sealed container.

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