Have your flowers and eat them too! Many flowers taste "fresh" or "grassy", but several species have enjoyable, unique flavors that can add something special to dishes, beyond beauty.
Quick tips for preparing edible flowers:
- Harvest in the morning for longest lasting blooms.
- Look for and remove any insects hiding in the blooms.
- Gently rinse flowers.
- Choose flowers that are free from chemicals, like one's you grew from seed. Purchased plants may have had long-lasting chemicals applied to them.
- The green sepals that hold the flower together at the base of the flower can be bitter, so consider removing this part, depending on how you will be using the flowers. Removing the sepal can leave you with a palm of petals, rather than a flower.
- If you aren't using the flowers right away, cut enough stem to place them in a cup or vase of water or place the blooms in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Creative ways to use edible flowers
Candied flowers are delicious and can last for several months. Use them as edible decorations on desserts, or even savory dishes like quiche.
What you'll need*:
- 1 egg white, slightly beaten until just frothy
- 1 small paint brush
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
- freshly picked, clean, edible flowers (we used borage)
Floral Ice Cubes
Freezing edible flowers in ice cubes is easy and creates an impressive garnish in summer drinks. Simply fill an ice cube tray will water and add rinsed flowers. You may have to poke them down into the water if they float. Want to take this a step further? How about homemade popsicles with frozen flowers?
Here are some common edible flowers, their flavor notes, and some ideas on how to use them:
Edible Flowers Comparison
|Edible Flower||Flavor Notes||Ideas for using||Add to Cart|
|Bachelor's Buttons||Clove||Petals are pretty used like sprinkles on frosted confections.|
|Basil||Mild basil||Infuse in vinegar or olive oil and top salads or even proteins for color as well as flavor.|
|Bee Balm||Lemon-mint-oregano||Replace oregano in savory dishes, steep into tea, bake into breads, add to a fruit salad, or float in punch.|
|Borage||Borage||Candy for use on confections, freeze in ice cubes, garnish cold summer soups, or add to craft cocktails/mocktails.|
|Calendula||Woody, earthy; resembles saffron||Mix into egg dishes, casseroles, baked goods, salads, or sandwiches. The dried, ground petals make an inexpensive saffron substitute.|
|Chives||Sweet, mild chive leaves||Use as a garnish, chives alternative, or to infuse vinegar.|
|Anise Hyssop (Agastache)||Licorice, mint||Steep fresh or dried into hot or iced tea, sprinkle flowers over cold soups or fruit, or add to baked goods.|
|Lavender||Unique||Add to a simple syrup to make craft cocktails/mocktails or lavender lemonade. Bake into bread, cookies, or scones. Flavor jellies.|
|Nasturtiums||Peppery||Stuff blooms with soft cheeses, add to salad, or use as a striking edible garnish. Unripe seeds can be pickled as a substitute for capers.|
|Signet Marigold||Spicy, tarragon, citrus||Infuse in oil and vinegar for a salad dressing, or chop and use as you would tarragon.|
|Pansy||Sweet, grassy, wintergreen||Candied or fresh, garnish soft cheese or baked goods for edible decoration.|
|Sunflower||Grassy, nutty||Unopened flowers can be steamed and eaten like artichokes, or petals of opened flowers can be sprinkled in salads as a sunny garnish.|
|Sweet William (Dianthus)||Clove||Desserts, salads, sauces.|
|Viola||Sweet, grassy, wintergreen||Candied or fresh, garnish soft cheese or baked goods for edible decoration.|