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Recipe: Edible flower canapés

How to make the perfect summery and unusual canapés to impress your guests (including the BEST wild garlic sauce recipe!)

Recipe: Edible flower canapés

I've always associated Ludlow with magnolias; you'll probably walk past one of the loveliest magnolias in the land as you walk into the castle grounds - Ludlow magnolia is as impressive to plant lovers as the castle is for history buffs.

So, in honour of the magnificent magnolia, the first time I was asked to give a demonstration at the spring festival, I bought with me a handful of flowers from my own, tiny tree - because magnolia isn't just beautiful, it's delicious as well. I spent my demonstration convincing the bemused audience to take a nibble on the petals, and fortunately they really rather liked them. Now 12 years on, my own tree is still not as impressive as Ludlow's but it now gets covered in enough flowers to turn into syrups, pickles, drinks, canapés and even to dry into a warming wild spice.
If you were in the audience and bravely ate the magnolia you'll know why I am very glad I planted the tree - its buds taste of cardamom, petals of ginger and even the leaves (used in Japan) have a their own citrusy, almost lemongrass flavour.

Should you have a later flowering magnolia, you'll probably still have a few flowers on your tree, (even if its flowers have been and gone, take a look amongst the branches and you may well find a few late flowers) if you do, there's not many nicer things to do than to turn them into canapés - open up your flowers, lay the boat shaped petals on a platter and and fill them with this very moreish mixture of wild garlic soy and ginger.

Magnolia & Wild garlic canapés

Makes 20 canapés


  • 20 unblemished magnolia petals
  • 60ml light soy sauce
  • 60ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated root ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 100 gram wild garlic flower stems (with the flowers)

Mix the soy, vinegar, sugar, shallot ginger, sesame oil and chilli flakes. Finely chop the wild garlic stems; pull away the flowers from the flower heads and mix most of them in to the sauce.

Spoon the mixture into the magnolia petals, garnish with the remaining flowers and serve (ideally under the boughs of Ludlows famous magnolia)

Top tip: This wild garlic sauce is also fabulous with fish, meat, vegetables.

Magnolia & Wild Garlic Recipe By Expert Forager Liz Knight.
(Recipe inspired by her books Forage and Buds & Blossoms)