by guest blogger Keriann Koeman, of EcoTulips
Tulip petals are quite tasty. They taste like sweet lettuce, making them a gorgeous addition to salads. Tasting tulips is like tasting wine: You have the top note and the finish. Here are my top picks for the best-tasting tulips, arranged from sweet to peppery.
- Lalibela: My all-time favorite with its huge organge-ish red petals that remind me of the color of tomato soup. The petals have a fresh sweet taste that intensifies as you eat it. Lalibela looks fabulous in salads and adds a beautiful red color to flavored vinegars. Petals can be thinly sliced or left whole. Kids really enjoy this variety. Many of my taste testers exclaim with surprise how amazingly delicious these are.
- Leen van der Mark: A bicolored beauty. Red petals with tips that start out creamy and turn white. Not as sweet as Lalibela but still very tasty. The flavor is more subtle and comes on slowly.
- Camargue: Often described as herby and fresh, the petals are incredibly tasty stuffed with goat cheese and topped with chopped walnuts, parsley, and a Dijon vinaigrette. These blooms are cream-colored with a light streak of pinkish red that becomes more pronounced as they mature. A striking yet subtle tulip.
- Grand Perfection: A little sweetness and whole lot of color. White petals with fiery-red streaks that add a “wow” factor. This tulip is reminiscent of the infamous Rembrandt tulips that started the tulip craze in Holland, referred to as the historic Tulipmania, during the 1600s. Bulbs sold for 3,000 and 4,200 guilders, depending on size. A skilled craftsman at the time earned about 300 guilders a year. Had they tasted this tulip, they may never have recovered.
- Purple Prince: Purple prince starts sweet and ends with a slightly peppery note, and the purple hue adds amazing color to a spring salad. These purple petals are absolutely decadent floating on top of lemonade or an elderberry cordial.
Overall, red tulips tend to be sweetest and are a big hit with kids especially, making them my number one choice for eating. Other tulips that aren’t as exciting in flavor can be added for color contrast, such as some white or yellow varieties. When tasting, be sure to choose organic varieties that are free of pesticides and rinse off the pollen, which can cause a little heartburn.
Editor’s note: Rodale’s Organic Tulip Festival is this Saturday, April 14th. There are 25,000 organic tulips bursting into bloom! More than 20 varieties for you to pick or just enjoy. Come on out to the farm!
Keriann S. Koeman is the vice president and cofounder of EcoTulips. Started with her husband, Jeroen, in 2009, when they first began importing organic bulbs, EcoTulips is the only supplier of organic tulip bulbs in the U.S. Every spring, the company hosts an Organic Tulip Festival, at which attendees can pick their own blooms from thousands of tulips.