Edible Flower Palette

Edible flowers are frequently for sale at farmer’s markets but most people are hesitant to take the plunge and actually use them in cooking.

Variety of edible flowers from the garden

Garnishes – yes, but actually eating flowers??? For most people that is a different story. But flowers can add a lot to the flavor as well as  appeal of a dish.  Go to Squash Blossom Latkes  to see what you can do with squash blossoms. Also, go to African Blue Basil to check out this great flower that makes a wonderful pesto. All basil flowers are edible.

African Blue Basil makes a great pesto

African Blue Basil makes a great pesto

 Edible flowers definitely add taste and flavor to a dish.  Bean blossoms actually have a beany flavor.  Nasturtiums, one of my favorites, have a peppery flavor similar to watercress, and their pickled buds can be substituted for more expensive capers. True blue borage tastes like cucumber, and  pansies have a lettuce like taste. For a crisp butter crunch lettuce taste, try daylilies. Maybe that is why deer like daylilies so much.

Collecting edible blossoms from the garden

Collecting edible blossoms from the garden

 

Top 20 Edible Flowers

Edible Flower chart from sugarandcharm.com
Edible Flower chart from sugarandcharm.com

 ( list obtained from http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/top-20-edible-flowers-from-garden-to-kitchen/)

  • Nasturtium

  • Angelica

  • Anise Hyssop

  • Bachelor’s Button *

  • Bee Balm

  • Calendula/Marigold

  • Carnations

  • Chamomile *

  • Chervil

  • Pansy

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Clover

  • Dandelion * {eating ‘em puts a whole new spin on ‘weeding’}

  • Fuchsia

  • Gladiolus *

  • Hibiscus

  • Impatiens

  • Jasmine

  • Lavender

  • Lilac

“Only the petals of these composite flowers are edible. The pollen of composite flowers is highly allergenic and may cause reactions in sensitive individuals. Sufferers of asthma, ragweed, and hayfever should not consume composite flowers, and may have extreme allergies to ingesting any flowers at all.” ~ Source HomeCooking/About.com

 

Edible blossoms-borage, nasturtium and chives, pansy, gladiolus, cardinal basil, daylily, pansy

Edible blossoms-borage, nasturtium and chives, pansy, gladiolus, cardinal basil, daylily, pansy

 

Uses

Beautiful cake decorated with roses and borage blossoms, made by Maria Springer of http://www.majaskitchen.com/

Beautiful cake decorated with roses and borage blossoms, made by Maria Springer of http://www.majaskitchen.com/

Edible flowers as a garnish make any dish look special on your table, but be sure the flavor of the flower compliments the dish. Here are a few ideas to beautify your recipes and perk up your taste buds:

  • Place a colorful gladiolus or hibiscus flower (remove the stamen and pistil) in a clear glass bowl and fill with your favorite dip.

  • Sprinkle edible flowers in your green  and fruit salads for a splash of color and taste.

  • Make edible flower ice cubes. Go to http://diana212m.blogspot.com/2013/02/jazzy-take-on-water.html

    Ice cubes with edible flowers

  • Use in flavored oils or vinegars, like chive blossoms in vinegar which gives it a pretty pink  blush color.

  • You can use them in salads, teas, garnishes, ice creams, etc. Lavender ice cream anyone?? It is delicious!

     

     

    The ultimate edible flower-lavender

    The ultimate edible flower-lavender

 Never use non-edible flowers in your food as guests will think that they can eat it. Poisonous flowers abound in your garden and be careful what you use!

When you pick your blossoms, keep them fresh by rolling up in a moist paper towel and keep in the refrigerator no more than a few days before using.

Be creative!

Roll the blossoms in a moist paper towel and store in the refrigerator

About Claire Jones

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
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5 Responses to Edible Flower Palette

  1. Aerie-el says:

    Beautiful, and so informative! I love making brownies with lavender in them, but I look forward to making edible floral ice cubes. Those look beautiful and are sure to make a statement!

  2. Loved the list of flowers. It was surprising how many more there were than I expected. Pinned them. Thanks.

  3. DC Tropics says:

    I love african blue basil but it has a rather strong flavor and I’m not sure I would want to make pesto with it! I do use it (judiciously) in salads with things like cucumber or avocado, where one might use oregano but giving a different flavor.

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