For all the “foodies” out there, did you know that flowers make a colorful, textural, atypical, and flavorful addition to salads, baked goods, cocktails, and more?
Favorite Edible Flowers
There are surprising blooms that can be tasty accents to your favorite dishes. For the best flavor and freshness, harvest blooms at their peak early in the day. Younger and older blooms or blooms of different sizes often have subtly different flavors, so be sure to experiment to find your favorites.
- Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) – Tea-like flavor, flowers in white, pink, red and lavender
- Borage (Borago officinalis) – Cucumber-like taste, flowers in lavender, purple and blue
- Calendula (Calendula officianalis) – Peppery taste, flowers in yellow, orange and gold
- Chive (Allium schoenoprasum) – Onion flavor, flowers in white, pink and lavender
- Nasturtium (Tropaloum majus) – Peppery flavor, flowers in white, yellow, orange and red
- Pineapple Sage (Salvia eleagans) – Sage flavor with pineapple undertones, flowers in scarlet
- Pinks (Dianthus spp.) – Clove-like flavor, flowers in white, pink and red
- Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenufolia) – Citrus taste, flowers in white, yellow, gold and red
- Viola or Pansy (Viola spp.) – Sweet flavor, flowers in a multitude of colors
- English Lavender (l. angustifolia and munstead) has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the one most commonly used in cooking
There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when experimenting with unfamiliar flowers. Not all flowers are edible and some can be poisonous, even in small tastes. Be certain to clearly identify your flowers and accept no imposters, as some blooms can look very similar. Also, it is best to use flowers that have not been sprayed with chemicals – either fertilizers or pesticides. The best way to avoid both of these issues is to grow your own edible flowers from seed, keeping them conveniently in a kitchen container garden or safely on a deck or patio where there’s no risk of contamination or misidentification. The golden rule is: when in doubt, do not eat the flower.
Flowers make surprising accents to salads, soups, garnishes, teas, cocktails, breads, and cookies. Add flower petals to a favorite juice, or freeze blooms in ice cubes for colorful cooling. There are even recipes available for jams, marinades, and more, all with more taste and color thanks to edible flowers. Not sure which recipes to try? Check out Johnny’s Selected Seed’s list of Edible Flowers, many of which we carry in-house at Rolling Green Nursery. And follow our Pinterest Board of Recipes to get some fun ideas today, and stay tuned for some more recipes we’ll be publishing here soon. Bon appétit!