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Which Flowers are Edible?

16_06316It’s easy to forget that many flowers are actually edible. But more and more restaurants are adding edible decorations like nasturtiums, with a distinct, almost peppery flavor, to salads and cocktails. Squash blossoms are delightful when stuffed with vegetables and cheese. In short, edible flowers are far more than a garnish: try them candied, frozen in ice cubes to dress up a drink or added to vinegars. I love daylilies on a summer salad with fresh fruit and a light vinaigrette. Experiment with recipes and see where your imagination leads!

Before you go out and start grazing on blooms there are a few things to consider:

  • It is important to check 2 or 3 sources to make sure flowers are edible.
  • Check which parts of the flower are edible and if the flower is known to cause any type of reaction. For instance, some people are sensitive to the pollen in composite flowers such as chrysanthemums, dandelions and calendula. Some flowers are okay in small amounts, but may be trouble if eaten in large quantities. And some flower parts just taste bad.
  • It is advisable to only eat organically grown flowers because pesticides can last for months on a plant.
  • If you can eat the fruit of a plant you can almost always eat its flower.
  • Pick the flowers while it is cool, but as close to the time as you are going to use them as possible. And always check for insects.
  • Avoid flowers that are not fully open or past their prime.

Common Edible Flowers
Apple
Bee Balm
Borage
Calendula (petals only)
Chives
Chrysanthemum (petals only)
Dandelions
Daylily
Gardenia
Hibiscus
Lemon
Nasturtium
Pansy
Redbud
Rose (petals only)
Scented Geranium
Viola