Other edible flowers in the Sacred Valley

All but marked images are original, taken in my Urubamba chakra (August-December 2011). You are welcome to use any images provided you credit the photographer – Penelope Poole and link to Edible Flowers of Peru

More blossoms in the chakra appear to be edible, but require confirmation. I’ve tasted them personally –on the basis that fruit, vegetables, and herbs usually bear edible flowers– and experienced no ill effects.

Tumbo (Passiflora)This lovely flower’s petals are edible, pretty and tasty in salads. As with all edibles, the antlers must be removed (or if used as a garnish, must be served to savvy diners who will remove them on the plate.)The fruit of the tumbo, a type of passionfruit, commonly called ‘banana passionfruit” is fleshy and sweet and the seeds are eaten along with the pulp. It is a favorite of the Andean people here in the Sacred Valley, where it originated, and it can still be found in the wild in highland valleys in Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia and here in Peru.  
Pepino dulce (Solanum muricatum)This sweet melon is also native to this region. Its flowers are small, pretty and sweet and can be sprinkled on ice cream, or other creamy desserts or used to garnish pastries.  
Rocoto (Capsicum pubescens)These tiny flowers herald egg-shaped HOT peppers that pack a wallop – not for the faint of heart. The flowers are slightly peppery and add an elegant garnish to a salsa or salad. As my two giant rocoto bushes are already laden with peppers, more than we can use, we won’t sacrifice the fruit by using the tasty flowers.  

And several more blossoms grow abundantly in the Valley, although I’ve had trouble sourcing seedlings, which is odd, especially for nasturtium, because it is native to the part of Peru and still grows in the wild.

(Marked images below are borrowed, with thanks, from sites with no copyright, until I can replace them)

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)This peppery tasting flower is a favorite edible as it adds both color and zest to dishes, typically salads. They are native to Peru, but have not been domesticated since being spread far and wide in Europe by the returning Conquistadores in the 16th century and eventually throughout the world. They grow wild in soil where crops do not flourish and encouraging their growth is a sound strategy for erosion control.  pic not mine – to be swapped.
Garlic (Allium sativum)Garlic is prolific in the Valley and the cloves are as much a staple as salt (from the unusual salineras 20 minutes away in Maras). The history of garlic is complicated, although scholars agree it is thousands of years old. It’s possible the variety grown in Peru could have been crossed with a native species from Chile with cloves brought from Spain.  pic not mine.
Dill Weed (Anethum graveolens)Dill grows as easily as its lookalike, fennel, but is not well-known to the Quechua people, which is not surprising as it comes from the Mediterranean and southern Russia. Yet demand for local dill will surely increase with its propagation, as the fine international hotels and restaurants adjust their menus.  pic not mine
Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum)Closely related to the nasturtium, this beautiful flowering plant is actually a major food source for the Andes, where it originates. Some 9 million people rely on the tubers, which have a peppery, raddish-like bite and are generally cooked (baked, boiled, or fried). The flowers are similar in peppery zest to nasturtiums, but not well known in the rest of the world as they require high altitudes and other Andean climate conditions.


 pic not mine
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum)These festive blooms probably came to Peru from Europe and are popular additions to Peruvian gardens as ornamentals. Modern chefs suggest blanching the petals, which are described as ‘tangy or slightly bitter’ in flavor before sprinkling in salads. Some popular myth has labelled them as ‘poisonous’ but I’ve found no empirical evidence supporting that.  

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