Subtly sweet and fragile, with hints of earth; gorse flowers have such a subtle flavor that you can almost miss it if you’re not slowing down and savoring each bite.
For all of their subtlety in the flavor department Gorse is a visually stunning plant. It has tiny bright yellow petals showcased on dark green, spiky branches. Gorse bushes are native to western Europe, though they’ve made their way around the world, and can be found on coastal landscapes adding a sense of idyllic visual delight to panorama’s that might otherwise be flat and sparse. In the spring and summer when they are most fully in bloom, gorse bushes give off the slight scent of coconut when the sun warms their petals.
Today’s flavor comes from the kitchen of the Lavender Café in Solva, Pembrokeshire, Wales. I was allowed to sneak a little taste of their local foraging efforts when they found out what a flavor junkie I am.
These particular gorse flowers had just been foraged earlier in the morning from the nearby coast and surrounding area and were being prepared to add to salads and other sweet or savory dishes. Apparently, gorse can also be made into quite a delicious wine.
From a health perspective, there is little empirical research touting the health benefits of gorse, there are plenty of folk herbal remedies. Gorse is high in tannins giving it all the benefits of tannic acid; which include, immune support, cardiovascular support, lowering cholesterol, and balancing blood sugar. Tannins are also antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, making gorse a great preventative for foodborne illnesses and bacterial infections. You can also soak gorse seeds and flowers to make an insect repellent, namely for use against fleas. Gorse is part of the Bach Flower Remedy therapy; it is specifically used for feelings of hopelessness.