Edible Flowers in Your Garden
Most of us will think of the flowers as the plants that give us an enjoyment to look at, the fragrance that we can smell, the beauty that can make our room aesthetically looking better than it is, or to get an enjoyment by growing them in your garden. However, let us think of them as something that is edible, something you can cook or prepare salad with some spices.
I tried a flower salad only once and I did like it. Then I really wanted to try to make it myself, but I had no idea which flowers I could use. Which of them are actually edible and not poisonous, and will not make you sick after you eat the salad? Then I decided to search for it and found out that there are quite many flowers that can be eaten. Here you will find the list of edible flowers.
While some people love flowers for their beauty outdoors in the garden and indoors in a vase, a few grow them for eating. The flowers in addition bring lively flavors, colors, and textures to salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes. It might sound exotic to eat flowers, but it is actually not. The use of flowers as food dates back to the Stone Age with archaeological evidence that early man ate flowers such as roses.
Certainly, flowers have been used for centuries for making teas, and flower buds and petals have been used, from China to Morocco to Ecuador, in soups, pies, and stir-fries. A few of the flowers, such as rose flowers, dried day lily buds, and chrysanthemum petals, our ancestors used in cooking. For instance, rose petals are used for making wine. I tried to make it once in my life. It has a sweet and different taste from what I have ever tired.
Some flowers are high in nutrition as well. Roses — especially rose hips — are very high in vitamin C; marigolds and nasturtiums also contain vitamin C; and dandelion blossoms contain vitamins A and C.
Edible Annual Flowers
Beautifully Looking Food
Signet marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) features white, gold, yellow, or red flowers with a citrus flavor.
Calendula/pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) comes in yellow, gold, or orange flowers with a tangy, peppery taste.
Garland chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium) produces mild-favored, flowers in shades of yellow to white.
African marigold (Tagetes erecta) has white, gold, yellow, or red flowers with a strongly pungent flavor.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) has flowers in shades of white to red, with a watercress and peppery flavor.
Pansy/viola (Viola spp.) has violet, white, pink, yellow, or multi-colored flowers with a sweet flavor.
Garden salvia (Salvia officinalis) features blue, purple, white, or pink flowers with a slightly musky flavor.
Petunia (Petunia hybrida) has a wide range of colors and a mild flavor.
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) has scarlet flowers with a sage flavor with pineapple undertones.
Radish (Raphanus sativus) has yellow, spicy-hot flowers.
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum spp.) has a wide range of colors with a bland to bitter flavor.
Scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.) has white, red, pink, or purple flowers with flavors such as apple or lemon, depending on the variety.
Scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) has bright orange to scarlet flowers with a mild, raw bean flavor.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) features white, yellow, orange, or burgundy flowers. Unopened buds taste like a mild artichoke. Flower petals are bittersweet.
Tuberous begonias (Begonia x tuberhybrida) have white, pink, yellow, red, orange or multi-colored flowers with a citrus flavor.
Squash (Cucurbita spp.) has yellow to orange flowers with a mild, raw squash flavor.
Edible Perennial Flowers
Flowers of these perennials and herbs offer a broad range of flavors.
Baby’s breath (Gypsophila sp.) has white or pink flowers with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) features red, pink, white, or lavender flowers with a tea-like flavor that is stronger than the leaves.
Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) comes in a wide range of flower colors with a slight asparagus or summer squash-like taste.
Borage (Borago officinalis) has blue, purple, and lavender flowers with a cucumber-like flavor.
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) have yellow, slightly bitter flowers.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have white, lavender, or purple flowers with a strong onion flavor.
Dianthus/Pinks (Dianthus) have pink, white, and red flowers with a spicy, clove-like flavor.
Red clover (Trifolium pretense) has sweet-tasting, pink or red flowers.
Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) come in a wide range of colors with a bland to slightly bitter flavor.
Violets (Viola odorata) have violet, pink, and white flowers with a sweet to slightly sour flavor.
Tulips (Tulipa spp.) come in a wide range of colors and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Tree and Shrub Flowers
Even the trees and shrubs can produce edible flowers.
Apple (Malus spp.) has white to pink flowers with a floral to slightly sour taste.
Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) has sweet, white flowers.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) has orange, red, or purplish red flowers with cranberry and citrus overtones.
Linden (Tilia spp.) has white to yellow flowers with a honey-like flavor.
Plum (Prunus spp.) has pink to white flowers with a mild flavor, like flower nectar.
Rose (Rosa spp.) has white, pink, yellow, red, or orange flowers with a highly perfumed, sweet to bitter flavor.
Lilac (Syringa spp.) has fragrant white, pink, purple, or lilac flowers with a slightly bitter, lemony flavor.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) features white, yellow, pink, or red flowers with a honey-like flavor.
Some Flowers to Avoid
Nevertheless, you need to be cautious, while exploring different ways of using edible flowers. There is a number of poisonous plants containing substances that can cause symptoms such as upset stomachs, rashes, and headaches. And even edible flowers should be eaten in moderation. You can have too much of a good thing.
Some common landscape and flowering plants that you should avoid eating include clematis, hydrangeas, sweet peas, azaleas, daffodils, daphnia, lily-of-the-valley, foxgloves, bleeding hearts, rhododendrons, wisteria, oleander, lupines, hyacinths, four-o’clocks, calla lilies, and castor beans. This is by no means an exhaustive list of non-edible flowers so you should thoroughly research any flower before munching away.
How to Gather Edible Flowers
Pick flowers and place them in a shaded basket without crushing them. Most blossoms should be harvested at or near opening. Cull blemished blossoms. Gently clean off any dirt or bugs and store clean blossoms in a hard container in the refrigerator to prevent crushing.
Before using, gently wash the flowers and remove the stamens and styles (reproductive parts inside the flower) before eating. Flower pollen can detract from the flavor, and some people are allergic to it
Not all parts of all flowers are edible. While flowers such as violas, violets, scarlet runner beans, honeysuckle, and clover are entirely edible, some flowers have only edible petals. These include roses, calendulas, tulips, chrysanthemums, yucca, and lavender. Pluck the petals of these flowers for use in salads and cooking. For most flowers (except violas and pansies) the sepals (parts below the petals) are not tasty and should be removed before eating. In addition, some flowers, such as roses, dianthus, English daisies, signet marigolds, and chrysanthemums, have a bitter white portion at the base of the petals where they attach to the flower that should be removed.
With a little effort, you can harvest beautiful, delicious flowers to dazzle your friends and family at mealtimes.
Grow them in your garden—eat them in your salad.