Ok…so we all know flowers have sex lives. We’ve heard about it in songs, it’s acknowledgement has been muttered under mother’s breath and the visual facts have been burned into our eye sockets by the Discovery and Nature channels. ….and then there’s Georgia O’Keefe’s “bury your head in it” flower paintings!

I hate to admit it, but flowers seem to have a lot more…and maybe better sex than I do. There’s a whole lot of vigorous and “to the point” tickling going on with those squirming bees and fluttering moths. I’m just a tad bit jealous!

In an effort to capitalize on these blooming sex fiends, I add perfumy flower petals to my foods whenever possible. My theory is that certainly these florals will create some level of aphrodisiac response when passing under the diner’s nose on the way down the food hatch.

These past couple of weeks, we’ve been in the midst of the last warm weather gardenia blossoms. I have two of these buxom girls lazing next to me right now in a little bowl of water. While doing backstrokes, their fully open butter cream florescence wafts a heady, naughty sexual invitation through the air.

Gardenia jasminoides….are they edible? Unfortunately, I’ve always been a taste-first-ask-questions-later kind of cook. It’s probably a wonder I’m here to write this, because an awful lot of questionable wild ‘shroom bits have passed across my lips over the years. Such is the case of dear gardenia. A petal popped quickly into my mouth, raked teasingly across the tongue, teeth gently nibbling to release her narcotic fragrance. Rapture!! (Toxicity research done later.)

DO NOT – I repeat do not ingest unknown, untested plant parts.

Yes!! Gardenia j. is edible! Used by cooks in ways similar to the addition of edible rose petals. A delightful taste sensation, although a complete surprise, given that this flower does not easily give up her perfumed scent mysteries. The taste is light, sweet, a bit buttery and Gardenia fragrant. The scent of this flower translates accurately to the taste buds, filling your mouth with it’s rich, yet delicate sexy perfume. It’s petals, I shred, pluck, candy and toss au naturelle as often as possible.

When, where and how to apply Ms. Gardenia’s libidinous wiles


  • Float a fully opened 2″ bloom in an open mouthed flute of chilled Roederer’s Cristal Champagne. What bride or wedding anniversary couple wouldn’t be enthralled by this lovely romantic sentiment?
  • Pluck the petals, trim the bitter base end and layer into your favorite salad of fresh garden greens – add a handful of pitted fresh lychees for taste and texture interest. Toss with the lightest non-seasoned vinaigrette dressing.
  • Candy the Petals. Rinse and thoroughly dry pesticide-free gardenia petals. Using a small paintbrush, thinly coat the petals with lightly beaten egg whites. Set gardenia petals on a plate covered with superfine sugar. Sprinkle the blossoms with more superfine sugar. Gently shake to remove the excess. Place on waxed paper and allow to dry for several hours. These can be used to adorn any number of foods.
Print Recipe
  1. Bring milk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds, half of the sugar, and chopped gardenia
  2. petals to a simmer in heavy saucepan (at least 2 quart in size), stir to melt sugar, remove from heat and let the flavors develop for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk 8 egg yolks and remaining sugar till blended and lighter in color. For Diabetics: Use Whey Low Ice Cream Sugar(low carb, low calorie, and natural). It works perfectly.
  3. Add about 1/3 of the heated mixture slowly to the egg yolk mixture, whisking while adding. (this keeps egg from clotting) Then whisk all of egg mixture into cream mixture.
  4. Reheat, whisking continually, bring to simmer, but not a boil. Whisk and heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. A spoon dipped into mixture should stay lightly coated, and a finger run down the center should leave a line in the custard. Remove from heat.
  5. Put custard into a bowl in an ice bath (partial sink of water with ice works, to cool it quickly) Stir every five minutes or so. When cooled off, strain, put covered in fridge for several hours or overnight. Then use your ice cream maker. Freeze it to “soft-serve” consistency, put in another container and set in freezer to finish.
Recipe Notes

Be sure to use natural blooms from non-pesticide sprayed plants.

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Did You Know?

flowers are rich in vitamins and minerals?

most blossoms are very low in calories?

flowers picked from roadsides are filled with poisonous car exhaust emissions?