Edible flowers are frequently for sale at farmer’s markets but most people are hesitant to take the plunge and actually eat them.
Garnishes – yes, but actually eating flowers??? For most people that is a different story. But flowers can add a lot to the flavor as well as appeal of a dish. Go to Squash Blossom Recipes to see what you can do with squash blossoms. In researching this post, I discovered that dahlias, one of my favorites, is also edible-even the tubers!
Growing Your Own
Always be careful of buying edible flowers in a plant nursery as they might have been treated with pesticides or fungicides. Because of this, I recommend that you grow your own from seed so you know exactly where they are coming from. Don’t yank that Arugula out once it bolts to flowers! Use the flowers. Let your basil go to flower and use them as well. Flowering culinary sage is a good source of edibles.
What Do They Add?
Edible flowers definitely add taste and flavor to a dish. Bean blossoms actually have a beany flavor. Nasturtiums, one of my favorites, have a peppery flavor similar to watercress, and their pickled buds can be substituted for more expensive capers. True blue borage tastes like cucumber, and pansies have a lettuce like taste. For a crisp butter crunch lettuce taste, try daylilies. Maybe that is why deer like daylilies so much. And did you know that blue cornflowers are an ingredient in Lady Grey tea?
List of Edible Plants
- Anise Hyssop-flowers and foliage
- Apple Blossom
- Arugula-flowers and foliage
- Bachelor’s Button
- Basil-foliage and flowers
- Bee Balm-foliage and flowers
- Chives-foliage and flowers
- Coriander Flowers-foliage and flowers
- Dandelion-foliage and flowers
- Nasturtium-foliage and flowers
- Radish-foliage and flowers
- Sage-foliage and flowers
- Scented Geraniums-foliage and flowers
Poisonous flowers abound in your garden-Please check and identify all the flowers you are using!
Edible flowers as a garnish make any dish look special on your table, but be sure the flavor of the flower compliments the dish. Here are a few ideas to beautify your recipes and perk up your taste buds:
- Place a colorful gladiolus or hibiscus flower (remove the stamen and pistil) in a clear glass bowl and fill with your favorite dip.
- Sprinkle edible flowers in your green and fruit salads for a splash of color and taste.
- Make edible flower ice cubes: just place small flowers in water in trays and freeze
- Use in flavored oils or vinegars, like chive blossoms in vinegar which gives it a pretty pink blush color.
- You can use them in salads, teas, garnishes, ice creams, etc. Lavender ice cream anyone?? It is delicious!
- Try crystallizing your flowers with egg white and sugar for longer lasting decorations for cakes and desserts. Go to Lovely Greens to see how this is done
- After picking your flowers, wash or spritz them with water and roll in a paper towel and keep in the refrigerator for a few days
For a great recipe on violet lemonade, go to Star Bright Farm.