There are so many edible flowers out there that it was really hard to chose a Top 10 of edible flowers but I’ve managed to whittle it down to some of my favourite favourites, here goes:
A firm favourite with the bees but also great as an edible flower. The flowers can be mixed into vegetable and fruit salads or to garnish soups or to decorate desserts. The kids love them frozen in ice cubes in their drink. They can also be used in iced tea. The petals have a cucumber taste and the stamens add a hint of sweetness.
** Caution: Pregnant and lactating women should avoid borage flowers, as more than eight to ten flowers can cause milk to flow. They can also have a diuretic effect, so should not be eaten in great quantity.
Also known as “poor man’s saffron,” calendula flavor ranges from spicy to bitter and tangy to peppery. This flower is also a skin-healing powerhouse, but more of that another time. Calendula’s colour can vary greatly in a diverse range of yellows and oranges and the petals add a yellow tint to food and a saffron-like flavor, hence its nickname.
All allium (onion family) blossoms are edible. Their flavour is typically milder than the foliage. Chive blooms have a delicious onion essence and pretty little purple petals. Harvest the blooms along with the foliage and add to salads and vinaigrette’s. Likewise, garlic chives flowers have a hint of garlic but not as much as the actual garlic cloves.
These attractive flowers are another insect favourite and a must for every cottage garden. They have no fragrance but do have a sweet-to-spicy clove-like flavour. The petals can be mixed with other flower petals to make attractive confetti for sprinkling over salads, omelettes, and pasta dishes. Or they can be used on their own as a colourful garnish.
Dianthus are one of the most versatile of the edible flowers. Most have a pleasant spicy, floral, clove-like taste, especially the more fragrant varieties, and are ideal for decorating or adding to cakes. They also make a colourful garnish to soups, salads and the punch bowl. The petals of Sweet Williams will add zest to any ice cream, sorbets, salads, fruit salad, dessert sauces, seafood and stir-fries. However, it is advisable to remove the white heel at the base of the petal as this has a bitter taste but everyone’s preference is slightly different so only you can decide.
I’m sure you are familiar with the soothing properties of lavender’s scent. The flowers of this popular herb are used in a number of medicinal, beauty and cooking products. Like all herb flowers, lavender blooms are edible. They have a distinctive floral taste with a hint of rosemary/mint combo. Use sparingly in sweet dishes; a little goes a long way. Make delicious lavender sugar and add to biscuits, sorbets, jams or jellies. Add flowers to vegetable stock and create a tasty sauce for duck, chicken or lamb dishes. Lavender ice-cream isn’t bad either!
This is a popular edible flower that takes well to containers. Nasturtiums are available in trailing or upright varieties and their colour range is reminiscent of a brilliant sunset (think oranges, reds, and yellows). All parts of a nasturtium are edible: petals, leaves, and seeds. They have a peppery, spicy flavor; a cross between watercress and a radish. The flowers will add a colourful touch to salads and the green seeds can be chopped and used with parsley as a garnish. Try them combined with cream cheese or butter in canapés, or in a cheese and tomato sandwich. Flowers can also be used to garnish steaks or casseroles.
Both Rosemary flowers and the leaves can be used for a variety of things. Add fresh flowers to salads. The flowers can also be crystallised with sugar and egg for a beautiful garnish on cakes and pastries or you could try adding a few flowers to biscuit dough to add flavour.. The leaves are a firm favourite in culinary dishes with meat, especially pork and lamb, it helps to aid digestion of fatty meats. They can also be added to potatoes sparingly and make herb butter for roasted or grilled vegetables.
The buds, petals and seeds are all edible. Add the petals to a green salad or a stir fry for a colour contrast and a mild nutty taste. The green buds can be blanched, then tossed in garlic butter; they are similar in flavour to a Jerusalem artichoke. The kernels inside the seeds can be eaten raw or toasted as a snack.
Viola (Pansy, Viola, & Violets):
These cool-weather favourites add brightness to planters, lollipops, ice cubes, AND cupcakes! They have a sweet, grassy/green flavor. Violas come in a plethora of colour ranges, which makes them a fun flower to use to decorate cakes and as garnishes.
There you have it, my top 10 edible flowers. As you can imagine there are plenty more I could have added.
As time goes by I will be adding links to recipes and ideas, Top 5 uses for example, associated with each of these edible flowers so keep checking back for updates.
Other edible flowers that can be found in Grandma’s Garden Seed Store.
What would be in your top 10 I wonder?