Edible Flowers

 


Edible flowers are one of cookings best kept secrets for garnishing a meal, taken straight from the garden bed to the dinner plate. Edible flowers can make any tired old meal look a consescures delight.

 

Some of the most popular edible flower that can consumed are:...

 

Common Name Botanical Name Comments
Angelica Angelica archangelica May be skin allergen to some individuals. Good with fish and the stems are especially popular candied. Tastes like: celery-flavored.
Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Tastes like: sweet, anise-like, licorice
Apple Malus species Eat in moderation; may contain cyanide precursors. Tastes like: delicate floral flavor
Arugula Eruca vesicaria Tastes like: nutty, spicy, peppery flavor
Basil Ocimum basilicum Tastes like: different varieties have different milder flavors of the corresponding leaves. Tastes like: lemon, mint.
Bee Balm Monarda species Used in place of bergamot to make a tea with a flavor similar to Earl Grey Tea.
Borage Borago officinalis Taste like: light cucumber flavor.
Burnet Sanguisorba minor Tastes like: faint cucumber flavor, very mild.
Calendula* Calendula officinalis Tastes like: poor man's saffron, spicy, tangy, peppery, adds a golden hue to foods
Carnation Dianthus caryophyllus (aka Dianthus) Tastes like: spicy, peppery, clove-like
Chamomile* Chamaemelum nobile Tastes like: faint apple flavor, good as a tea
Chicory* Cichorium intybus Buds can be pickled.
Chives: Garden Allium schoenoprasum Tastes like: mild onion flavor.
Chives: Garlic Allium tuberosum Tastes like: garlicky flavor
Chrysanthemum: Garland* Chrysanthemum coronarium Tastes like: slight to bitter flavor, pungent
Citrus: Lemon Citrus limon Tastes like: waxy, pronounced flavor, use sparingly as an edible garnish, good for making citrus waters
Clover Trifolium species Raw flowerheads can be difficult to digest.
Coriander Coriander sativum Pungent. A prime ingredient in salsa and many Latino and Oriental dishes. Tastes like: Some palates detect a disagreeable soapy flavor while others adore it.
Cornflower* Centaurea cynaus (aka Bachelor's Buttons) Tastes like: sweet to spicy, clove-like
Dandelion* Taraxacum officinalis Tastes like: very young buds fried in butter taste similar to mushrooms. Makes a potent wine.
     
Dill Anthum graveolens  
English Daisy* Bellis perennis Tastes like: tangy, leafy
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Tastes like: sweet, licorice flavor.
Fuchsia Fuchsia X hybrida Tastes like: slightly acidic
Gardenia Gardenia jasminoides Tastes like: light, sweet flavor
Gladiolus* Gladiolus spp Tastes like: similar to lettuce
Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Tastes like: slightly acidic, boiled makes a nice beverage
Hollyhock Alcea rosea Tastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor
     
     
Impatiens Impatiens wallerana Tastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor
Jasmine: Arabian Jasminum sambac Tastes like: delicate sweet flavor, used for teas.
     
   
Lemon Verbena Aloysia triphylla Tastes like: lemony flavor, usually steeped for tea
Lilac Syringa vulgaris Tastes like: lemony, floral, pungent
Mallow: Common Malva sylrestris Tastes like: sweet, delicate flavor
Marigold: Signet Tagetes tenuifolia (aka T. signata) Tastes like: spicy to bitter
Marjoram Origanum majorana  
Mint Mentha species  
Mustard Brassica species Eating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches.
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus Buds are often pickled and used like capers. Tastes like: sweet, mildly pungent, peppery flavor
Okra Abelmoschus aesculentus
(Hibiscus esculentus)
Tastes like: similar to squash blossoms
Pansy Viola X wittrockiana Tastes like: very mild sweet to tart flavor
     
Pineapple Guava Feijoa sellowiana Tastes like: similar to the ripe fruit of the plant, flavorful
     
Radish Raphanus sativus Tastes like: milder, sweeter version of the more familiar radish heat
Redbud Cercis canadensis Tastes like: mildly sweet
Rose Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis Tastes like: sweet, aromatic flavor, stronger fragrance produces a stronger flavor. Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals.
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Tastes like: pine-like, sweet, savory.
Runner Bean Phaseolus coccineus Tastes like: nectar, bean-like
Safflower* Carthamus tinctorius Another "poor man's saffron" without the pungent aroma or strong flavor of the real thing
     
Savory: Summer Satureja hortensis  
     
Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus Tastes like: bland to bitter flavor
Society Garlic Tulbaghia violacea Tastes like: a very mild garlic flavor
Squash Blossom Cucurbita pepo species (aka Zucchini Blossom) Tastes like: sweet, nectar flavor.
Sunflower* Helianthus annus Tastes like: leafy, slightly bitter. Lightly steam petals to lessen bitterness. Unopened flower buds can be steamed like artichokes.
Thyme Thymus vulgaris Tastes like: lemon, adds a nice light scent.
   
Violet Viola species Tastes like: sweet, nectar
Yucca Yucca species Only the petals are edible. Other parts contain saponin, which is poisonous. Large amounts may be harmful. Tastes like: crunchy, fresh flavor


Nutrition


Flowers are variable in nutrition with some containing high vitamin and mineral counts (particularly if they have high nectar and pollen counts)

 

For example, rose hips are particularly high in Vit C as are marigolds and nasturtiums. Dandelions are high in C and A (another reason to pick them rather than kill them.)

And the best news is that flowers are calorie and carbohydrate free!

Pollen Issue


The one thing you might want to be careful about is eating the pollen. In some folks with serious allergies, eating pollen may bring on an allergenic reaction.

Simply cut off the anthers and pistil (the tiny hairs in the middle of the flower) to remove the pollen. The sepal and calyx (the non-petal parts) can also be removed except in flowers such as pansies that don’t have much of a non-flower part to begin with (unless pollinated)

Harvesting


Harvest edible flowers when the flowers are fully open in the early morning before heat has a chance to stress the tender petals.

 

Hopefully time it after the dew has evaporated but before the heat of the day begins.

 

Sample the flowers while harvesting as there is a high variability in taste between plants in different locations and growing conditions.

 

You want to ensure you’re feeding your guests good tasting edible flowers.

 

 

Disclaimer......If you intend to eat any of these flowers, then you do so at your own discretion.