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Flower the flavor of butters, mustards, and vinegar

Flower petal butters: Place a layer of petals in a glass dish and cover with about 4 ounces unsalted butter or 1/2 cup sweet butter, sliced in half. Press butter onto the flowers, then press more petals around sides and top of butter.

Cover with film or foil, and leave about a day before using.

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If you're short of time, chop up lots of fresh, scented petals, mix with butter, and use immediately.

Here are some good flowers for butters:

Nasturtiums, honeysuckle, highly scented rose petals, jasmine, sweet geraniums, pot marigolds, clove carnatiions, violets, English primroses, cowslips, red clover honeysuckle, clove carnations, red clover, and nasturtiums. Flower mustards:

You can make many different flower petal mustards by chopping up fresh petals in whole-grain, hot, English, or spicy Dijon French mustards. These are especially good served with fish and meat dishes.

A number of flowers can be used in making these mustards: sage, nasturtiums, pot marigolds, red clover blossoms, dandelions, anchusa, lavender, pansies, thyme, mint, chervil, dill, fennel, hollyhocks, and mallows.

Flower vinegar:

Unusual salads made with flower-scented vinegars are delicious. The vinegars often take on the color of the flowers that are steeped in them, like rose petals, violets, and lavender. Use a good white wine vinegar for most flowers and a cider vinegar for darker ones, like violets or red rose petals.

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Steep any highly scented flowers in vinegar 3 or 4 weeks, leaving the glass, jar, or bottle to stand on a sunny windowsill. The sun will release the natural oils of the flowers to impart the flavor.

Remove all stalks, green parts, and the white heels from flower petals. Pack flowers well down in the jar, then pour in vinegar. Give flowers a good stir before sealing jar. Shake bottle once each day to ensure that petals or buds are thoroughly stirred up in the liquid.

Here are flowers to use in flavoring and coloring vinegars: violets, elderflowers, nasturtiums, lavender, rosemary, thyme, basil, roses, carnations, mint, primroses, pelargoniums, and English cowslips.

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