What are some edible flowers in your garden? There are really quite a few more than you think. I am going to list edible flowers I like or want to try, along with some information about their flavors, as well as some information about cooking with flowers. I have left out any that are risky to eat as well as ones that aren’t very palatable. You may find that you have a few of these and would like to try them yourself.
Some words of caution about using edible flowers:
. You should never use any on which pesticides have been used, and don’t eat those picked from the side of the road. So almost by definition, the edible flowers you use, should be organic.
. Make sure you are only using edible parts of a flower or plant.
. Keep in mind that flowers often concentrate some of the plants organic compounds and have stronger flavors. Because of this, some may cause some stomach upsets if eaten in excess.
. Always remove the green base of the flower, as it is often bitter. Also remove stamens and pistels, except for violas and violets. I also use the whole nasturtium flower.
. Be sure to wash the flowers thoroughly.
. Introduce only a few flowers at a time to your diet, and be aware of any adverse reactions to them.
Edible Flowers I Like Or Want To Try
Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus – Dianthus) – These are miniature carnations with clove or nutmeg scent. Add them to salads or desserts. I haven’t tried this yet, but want to.
Citrus Blossoms – (lemon, orange, lime) Very fragrant flowers and citrusy flavor. Orange water has been used in pastries and cooking. I love the smell of citrus flowers. This is one thing I really miss about California.
Clover (Trifolium species) – Sweet, licorice flavor. Raw flower heads can be hard to digest. I have tried these in the past and they were OK. I much preferred pink clover, which we would pull and suck on the nectar.
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinalis) – Have sweet honey flavor, although older flowers are bitter. They can be used raw or steamed. Be sure to remove the green base. The French have cultivated dandelions for the greens, which are strong and a little bitter. The flower petals can be put into a salad. I have made superb wine from the flowers.
Day Lilies (Hemerocallis species) – They are somewhat sweet with a slight lettuce or melon flavor. The petals can be used in salads or stuffed and make a nice presentation. You should cut away the base of the flower as it is bitter. They can act as a diuretic so should be eaten in moderation. I have not tried these yet, but really want to and soon.
Johnny-Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) – Are cute small versions of pansies. They have a wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads and to decorate cakes. I have not used these before, but would love to try.
Nasturtiums Tropaeolum majus) – This is my number one favorite edible flower. The flowers and leaves are spicy and tangy and really spice up a salad. I use the whold flower torn in half in my salads and this makes them just beautiful.
Pansy (Viola X wittrockiana) – Pansies are also edible and have a grassy flavor. They can be used in salads, desserts or garnishes. I have known about these for some time, but have not yet tried them. I hope to soon.
Roses (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis) – Rose flowers have a sweet, delicate flavor to fruity flavor. I have torn up the petals to put in salds. They can also be used as garnishes on ice cream or cakes. Rose water is used extensively in Middle Eastern cooking and to flavor my favorite pastry – baklava. I have some wonderful Rugosas with huge rose hips. I would like to try making some rose hip jelly this fall. If you use roses, be sure not to use any pesticides or fertilizers with systemic pesticides in them
The flowers of many herbs are also edible. Here are a few that I use and enjoy.
Burnet (Sanquisorba minor) – This herb has a pleasant cucumber or melon flavor that I absolutely love in salads. I use the leaves and flowers.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – The flowers are similar in taste to the leaves, but are milder in flavor. They can be used in salads, or cooking, especially Italian cooking. Basil is absolutely one of my favorites.
Cilantro (Coriander sativum) – The flowers have a strong flavor like the leaves and seed heads. They should be used raw on salads or cold dishes. I use the flowers on salads and like the flavor they add. The seed heads become coriander.
Chamomile (Chamaemelum noblis) – The small white flowers have a sweet flavor. I don’t use them in anything other than homemade teas, which is really nice. Be aware that the flower can be allergy producing.
Dill (Anethum) – The flowers have a sharp dill taste and are great in seafood, soups or anything else you would use dill in. I have used it in salads in moderation, as this is a strong flavor.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Have a wonderful sweet flavor that is heavenly. It is wonderful in baked cookies, cakes and desserts. I use it in salads and cooked dishes as well.
Mint (Mentha spp) – The flowers are minty, as are the leaves but milder. I simply love mint in any fashion on lamb. I also use it in salads as well as cooking.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) – The flavor of the flower is similar to the leaf, but milder. I use this in salads and cooking.
There is a much wider variety of edible flowers than the ones I have named here. These are only the few ones that I have used or want to use, and which I enjoy. I have a good number of them in my own home garden.
If you have any edible flowers that you enjoy, be sure to leave a comment and tell us what edible flowers you like.