Have you ever eaten a flower? Have you ever wondered if you could?
Dating back to Roman times, and traced to Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures, flower cookery was popular when Queen Victoria ruled. And it’s all the rage again.
Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast or nature lover, knowing this list of flowers that you can eat will tickle your curiosity – and hopefully your taste buds, too.
Edible flowers are more than an elegant garnish and a touch of color. They pack real flavor, like herbs.
Learn about flowers you can eat here. Without further ado, we present to you…
The list of flowers that you can eat…
Borages are star-shaped blooms that come in pink, violet, and blue tones.
They’ve got a subtle flavor that’s usually likened to cucumbers.
Since they’re so striking, freeze them into ice cubes and put them on display floating in a drink. You can also sprinkle them on salads, soups, and dips.
Carnation petals are edible, and they taste like their sweet aroma once they’re cut away from their whiter and bitter base.
They can be steeped in wine or candy, or used to decorate a cake.
Did you know you’ve got some arugula-like greens in your yard? Next time you’re weeding, save the young dandelion greens and try a few in your salad. See what you think.
The young flower buds have a sweet honey taste. The mature flowers are bitter. Let’s not read into that too much, okay?
Dandelion wine is also delicious.
Maybe you’ve heard of this one because you’ve sipped a hibiscus-infused tea.
If you haven’t, we’d say you should give hibiscus tea a try real soon.
Steep a handful of hibiscus flowers in hot water. You can add lime for some pop. Drink hot or cold. It’s tasty both ways.
The flowers themselves are edible, too.
Lavender flowers have a lemony taste with floral overtones.
They’re the perfect pair for a glass of champagne or a piece of chocolate cake.
They also do savory well. Add them to a simmering sauce.
Like lavender flowers, lilacs have a lemony taste with floral overtones.
Usually used as a garnish, lilacs also punch up a bowl of vanilla ice cream for a delightful summer treat. They’re especially delicious crystallized in egg whites and sugar, too.
Marigolds can be used as a substitute for saffron.
They’re also yummy in salads, especially if you’re into a citrus kick. That’s right, marigolds have a citrus taste. Funky.
Mint flowers are minty. Makes sense, right?
The intensity of their mintiness varies greatly depending on the plant. So watch out! Take a little nibble first, and find out just how much mint you’re dealing with.
Nasturtiums are easy to grow, and both their flowers and their leaves are edible. So they’re one of the most popular edible flowers.
Throw the peppery leaves into a salad, and garnish with the colorful and sweet floral petals.
You can also stuff the petals.
Squash blossoms (found at the top of the squash plant) can be eaten raw or cooked. Depending on the plant, they can taste tangy or spicy.
These blossoms perish quickly, so it’s best to pick them right before you plan to cook, fry, stuff, and/or eat them.
Unopened sunflower buds can be steamed and enjoyed like artichokes. They even taste like artichokes.
The petals of the open flower can be used in salads and as a fresh garnish.
Like Nasturtiums, violets are a popular sweet floral garnish.
They can top your salads. And they can decorate your desserts and drinks.
A word on edible flower safety…
Only eat flowers that you’re sure are edible.
If you’re unsure, double check a reliable edible flower resource guide.
Always double check. Because even though the list of flowers you can eat is long, not all flowers are edible. And sampling some non-edible flowers can make you very sick.
As much as possible, eat flowers that you’ve grown yourself or that were grown by a local farmer whom you trust, so you know that the edible flowers have been nurtured and harvested safely.
Don’t eat flowers from the florist, or that you picked by the roadside or in a public park. Because there’s a fair chance that these flowers have been treated with pesticides or herbicides.
Can you say tummy ache? Ingest the wrong chemicals and a tummy ache could be the least of your problems.
Wash flowers well to rid them of dirt and bugs, and any other unappetizing substances they might have come into contact with during their time in the outside world.
Introduce edible flowers to your diet slowly, especially if you suffer from allergies. Because flowers can aggravate allergies if they’re consumed in large amounts.
Refrigerate the flowers on damp paper towels in airtight containers to keep them fresh for up to ten days.
Keep in mind: not all edible flowers taste good. You’ll like some better than others. So give a bunch a try, and see what you like best. With a long list of flowers you can eat, there’s bound be a couple you like very much.
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