Cooking with Scented Geraniums
Have you ever smelled a scented geranium? They are just wonderful, and I don’t mean the flowers, which are not at all spectacular, I mean the leaves. You can just rub the leaves and they leave you with a delightful scent. I have seen rose, strawberry, lemon rose, chocolate, cinnamon, potpourri, and ginger, but I am sure there are others. My favorite is the rose scented, and I have one right now along with a potpourri scented. Even if you already knew about this delightful plant, did you know you can cook with it? Cooking with scented geraniums gives your food a wonderful flavor and scent just like the plant.
When cooking with scented geraniums you don’t usually actually eat the leaves. They are added for flavor and then removed before eating. My favorite ways to use them are to use them to flavor sugar that I am going to bake with and to flavor tea. To flavor sugar, I simply pour some sugar into a container that has an air tight lid (you could even use a large zipper bag). Then I pick, wash, and dry one leaf for each cup of sugar I am flavoring. I then rub them a bit to get them to begin releasing their fragrance and stir them into the sugar. I then use the sugar without the leaves to bake. The longer you let the leave sit in the sugar, the stronger the flavor will be. I try to let mine sit at least a week before using. To flavor tea, I simply add a leaf to my cup before pouring in the hot water for a delightful flavor and aroma. If you are making a whole pot of tea, add one leaf for about every ten ounces of water.
Another way to use scented geraniums in baking is to line your cake or bread pans with the leaves. After you remove the cake or bread from the pan, just peel the leaves off, and they have scented your cake or bread. To get lots of flavor, try lining your cake pans with leaves and using the scented sugar in you batter.
I will admit that sometimes finding scented geraniums can be difficult, so I just keep a look out for them. I also try to buy organic ones because I am cooking with them. I have had them off and on for years and never even needed to fertilize them, nor have I ever had an issue with bugs or disease, so they are easy to grow without using chemicals.