Flowers, however, aren’t just for the garden. Chefs and creative home cooks are using edible plants to spice up the menu. Flora’s impart beauty and tempt the senses with their unique texture and taste.
When you want to add a touch of something special, flower blossoms are the perfect medium, making entrancing edible delights. What could be more attractive than an edible flower sitting delicately atop a slice of cake or gracing a chilled fruit soup?
Edible Flowers List
- Borage—cornflower blue flowers and a cucumber flavor make borage blossoms suitable for punches or as a topper for chilled soups.
- Carnations—these pretty flowers compliment dessert items, making attractive cake decorations.
- Fuchsia— beautiful fuchsia flowers are edible delights: bursting with color and having an unassuming flavor that goes well with a variety of foods.
- Gladiolas—add interest to any salad. The petals taste like lettuce.
- Lavender—these edible plants with their aromatic buds and flowers impart a floral flavor that can be used to compliment ice cream, custards, or cake.
- Pansies—these quaint flowers have a mild, grassy flavor and can be used to garnish fruit salads, desserts, or chilled soup.
- Roses—enchanting edible roses are an enduring favorite and encompass an appealing range of flavors from strawberry to apple, from minty to spicy. Edible creations incorporate miniature rose varieties to decorate puddings, ice cream or cakes. Larger edible rose petals make a nice addition to salad or can be used to perfume butter.
- Sweet Woodruff—with a nutty, vanilla taste, woodruff is suitable for dessert dishes.
- Violets—these flowers have a delicate flavor and can be used in salads or to decorate cakes or cookies. Add to punch or to iced drinks.
There are a number of flower varieties that are safe to eat. The basic list above can be used as a starting point. Flowers you can eat are a good compliment to meals and serve to dress up beverages—a real crowd pleaser when entertaining.
- Consult a good reference book before sampling any flower. Many flowers are poisonous
- Avoid using non-edible flowers as garnishes lest guests assume these are safe to eat
- Never eat flowers purchased in a market as they may have been treated with pesticides
- Avoid picking flowers near roadways because of possible contamination
Edible Flower Trends
- Caterers use edible flower arrangements for special occasions
- Cruises offer guests tables laden with edible creations that add to the festive holiday atmosphere
- Edible cake decorations are becoming popular for weddings. Many brides choose delicate, edible cake flowers to decorate their cakes.
- Edible flower petals lend their delicate flavors to tea and wine and add vibrant color to champagne and punches
Incorporating edible flowers into meal preparation is nothing new. The ancient Romans used edible plants in their cooking; other cultures used cooking methods that included edible delights. During the reign of Queen Victoria, edible florals were sampled and appreciated.
Ideas for Edible Arrangements
- Decorate a cake with pansies for a stunning edible creation
- Stuff day lily flowers with ambrosia or other sweet salad
- Surround a platter of cookies with attractive gardenia flowers you can eat
- Make stunning individual fruit salads by placing each salad portion inside a rose
Adding Edible Flowers to the Menu
- Sprinkle a salad with nasturtiums for a colorful touch
- Add lavender blooms to champagne for an exotic taste
- Dress up rice by sprinkling on young dandelion petals
- Freeze miniature rosebuds in ice cubes to add to punch
Organic Edible Flowers
If you enjoy gardening, growing your own edible flowers can be another facet of this interesting and satisfying hobby.
- Grow your own edible flowers in a chemical-free place to ensure safety
- A good rule of thumb is to eat only flower petals, while removing pistils and stamens
- Pick edible plants early in the day, then soak or wash flowers in cool water. Set to dry on absorbent paper or a clean towel out of direct sunlight.
Nature offers us a bounty of incredible edibles. Why not experiment by adding edible flowers to the menu?
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!