|Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora)|
Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora), which I thought was the only goldenrod that has uses in the kitchen, but Solidago altissima, also has an anise-like flavor. Imagine an herb that has leaves that taste somewhere between anise and French tarragon. Now imagine that flavor combined with honey and you have the flavor of the flowers.
|This one grows easily in my lavender bed.|
Think you don't like goldenrod because it makes you sneeze? That myth has been completely debunked. The myth was started by a misguided ad campaign decades ago. To read the story, and why goldenrod doesn't give you allergies, read the story here. The culprit is ragweed, not goldenrod.
Susan Albert, author of those wonderful China Bayles herbal mysteries I love, wrote saying she has another variety that is also anise-scented, growing near her. She uses it for tea, so it would also be good for culinary purposes. And in checking, I see that the one she refers to, Solidago altissima, is also native to Missouri and surrounding states. See photos and descriptions here.
So, just what do you use Sweet Goldenrod for? Chop up the leaves in chicken salad, much like you would French tarragon or Mexican Mint Marigold. Add the flowers, pulled from the stems, to cake and cupcake recipes. Sprinkle the flowers on buttered toast with honey. Here's an easy cupcake recipe using the flowers.
Sweet Goldenrod Cupcakes2 cups flour
2 - 3 tablespoons fresh Sweet Goldenrod flowers
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I use butter)
1 cup milk
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 12 inch cake pan - OR, place paper cupcake holders in a cupcake pan (this will make about 9 cupcakes).
In a food processor, combine the flour and Sweet Goldenrod flowers and process a few seconds to chop the flowers. Set aside that mixture aside.
In the food processor, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and remaining ingredients and blend just enough to combine well. Pour into cupcake containers and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Top with shipped cream or powdered sugar. You'll never say bad things about goldenrod again!