Edible Flowers Almost Too Pretty to Eat

Edible flowers are as pretty as can be in the garden, and they add both flavor and color to any dish served up in the kitchen. Here are the varieties that are safe to eat.

The most common (and safest edible flowers) are nasturtium, pansy, violet, Johnny-jump-up, calendula, chive, and sage. These flowers are easily grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Many roses are delicious, but you need to be sure they are grown organically. A good rule of thumb is: If you cannot positively identify a flower as edible, don't eat it. Also, if you have asthma, hayfever, or other allergies, do not eat flowers.

Never eat flowers from a nursery, garden center, or florist; they are likely to have chemical residues that concentrate in the flowers.

Pansy

Pansies span every color of the rainbow, so you can have fun decorating food. Plan a party months ahead and grow pansies to match your decor, best outfit, or favorite color. Their flavor is slightly minty. Try this flower baked into a cookie, as a salad additive, or as a wintergreen-tasting dessert garnish.

Related: Try Pansies in These Garden-Fresh Salads

Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are one of the most commonly eaten flowers. The flower may be vivid yellow, orange, or red as well as muted tones and bicolors. Both the leaves and the flowers have a peppery flavor and are best eaten uncooked. Toss petals into salads, top a sandwich, or make a spicy appetizer.

Try This Recipe: Nasturtium Poppers

Rose

Roses not only look beautiful in a bouquet, but pair well in some delicious dishes. Roses may be tasteless, sweet, perfumed, or slightly spicy. Chop the petals and mix with sugar. Let them infuse for a week and use for baking and desserts.

Try These Recipes:

Rhubarb and Rose Petal Jam

Strawberry, Mango & Rose Pavlova

Rose Petal Ice Cream

Borage

Borage's star-shape blossoms practically fall off the plant when they are ready to eat. They have a mild cucumber flavor that is delicious in lemonade.

Related: Try Borage in These Lemonade Recipes

Tulip

Tulips have a wonderful crunch, especially at the base of the petals. The flavor ranges from pea- to beanlike. Use tulip petals as a low-calorie substitute for chips with dip. Be cautious, though—the bulbs on this lovely flower are NOT edible.

Related: Dip Tulip Petals Into These Delicious Dips

Pinks and other dianthus have a sweet, clove-like taste. Do not eat whole—remove individual petals. Infuse petals in water for tea, or top a cracker and cheese with several petals. This flower also makes a delectable sorbet.

Related: Grow an Herbal Tea Garden

Marigold

'Tangerine Gem' marigold and the other Gem hybrids are the only good-tasting marigolds, with a citrusy tarragon flavor. Use petals in deviled eggs or sprinkle on soups or pasta dishes.

Try These Recipes:

Marigold Vinaigrette

Flower Power Mini Cupcakes

Signet Marigold Biscuits

Lilac

Lilacs are another variable flower, with a grassy taste or a delightful perfumed flavor. Use in chicken dishes and fruit salads or as an infused water upgrade.

Related: Try Lilac in One of These Fruit Salad Recipes

Note: Use only flowers that have been grown without pesticides or other chemicals.

1 Comment

  1. While living in Pittsburgh working for a major grocer, I became a Cheese Monger. Over the years I tried to improve the look but not until the store began to carry the fresh herbs, then edible flowers. Then the boards and the fancy Brie cakes became a work of art!
    I began eating dandelion as a child, now I eat everything on the, safe list. I keep ice cubes with flowers to serve guests. Everything is so pretty!raf



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