Did you know that there are flowers on this planet that are edible and taste like honey?? Well, there are! Hellooo, a new ingredient for all your cooking! Given that I consider you a true flower fiend (the word just had to be created), it's probably not a surprise that I'm here to share some of the best edible flowers.
Edible flowers can be a fun and exciting addition to your cooking. However, they are not for everyone. Starting slowly is the safest way to decide whether they are right for you.
Those who have seasonal allergies might react to eating edible flowers, so they should exercise caution. Watch out for trouble breathing or a swollen tongue. In terms of preparation, in most cases, the pollen from the flowers should be removed to reduce allergens and improve the flavor overall.
Know Which Is Edible
Some flowers look and smell gorgeous but are poisonous. Others might not look too appetizing but are great to add to recipes. A good book on edible flowers can get you started. So too, you can buy small amounts of dried flowers. In this way, you can explore what each tastes like.
Always check for the Latin name when buying the seeds to ensure you get an edible variety, not a potentially dangerous cousin. With so many to choose from, it will take some time to find your favorites, but it can be a fun and tasty journey of exploration.
Slowly Add Them to the Recipes
Like most plants, edible flowers can have various digestive effects - including a laxative one. Gas and upset stomach can also occur when trying new foods. So eat small amounts first to see how well the flowers agree.
While purchasing flowers from nurseries or florists may be cost-efficient, there is a chance they have come in contact with pesticides or chemicals that make them unfit for human consumption. The best thing about growing your edible flowers is that you can go organic. In addition, specific flowers and herbs serve as natural insect repellents, such as mint and rosemary, so that you can keep bugs at bay.
Be Careful with Composting
If you are growing your own, compost is organic matter from food, such as orange rinds, tea leaves, and so on, used to fertilize plants. Always put your compost on the soil, never on the leaves or flowers of your plants.
Get a Detailed Book or Reference Chart
A detailed book of edible plants should have a photo, the English name, the Latin name, and details about the care of the plant. Use sticky notes to help you identify the plants you have tried that you like the taste of, and be sure to bring the book with you to your local nursery or garden center when you visit to buy seeds or plants.
Above all, check which parts of the plant can be eaten and how they should be prepared. For some, it might be the flowers only; for others, the leaves.
Get to Know the Most Popular Edible Flowers
Borage (Borago officinalis)
These star-shaped flowers come in pink, violet, and blue and taste slightly like cucumbers. Borage is popular in savory dishes like soups and stews. You can also freeze the flowers in water to make ice cubes to add to summertime drinks for refreshment. It is an excellent dried herb to always keep on hand. It can be grown in any degree of sunlight and soil.
Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium, or Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum) taste the way they smell, slightly spicy and pungent. They come in lots of colors. Use sparingly in salads, stir-fries, and rice dishes; a little usually goes a long way. They need lots of sunlight and do well if the soil is well-drained. They are highly toxic to dogs and cats, so avoid them if you have pets.
These flowers taste sweet and floral. They are best harvested when the flower buds are just about to open.
These can vary considerably in taste, from spicy nutmeg or ginger to citrus or peppermint. The lemon and peppermint-tasting varieties work well in ice cream, sorbet, and ice cubes. Freeze the flowers and use the cubes to liven up your pitchers or punch bowls—geraniums like light and well-drained soil.
A perennial herb, Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) with a lemony scent and a sweet taste. It's good in salads and drinks or chopped into fruit salads. Use these flowers can be candied or used to make tea.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a perennial herb with purple flowers with a licorice flavor. Use the leaves in salads or as an ingredient in baking. The flowers are edible but have a strong flavor, so use them sparingly.
These pretty yellow flowers taste like squash and have a mild nutty flavor with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. They're great sautéed or stuffed with cheese or meat fillings. Use them as garnishes on salads or anywhere you want some color and texture without adding too much flavor (like on top of risotto).
Apple Blossom's delicate flavor works well in desserts like tarts, pies, cakes, and ice cream — but it's best used fresh because freeze-drying doesn't preserve the floral notes very well (they just get lost).
The English Daisy (Bellis perennis) is a perennial plant that grows in the wild and has many uses in the kitchen. It can be used as an herb or an edible flower. Daisies can be used to make tea, which has been shown to help with sleep disorders and anxiety. The leaves can be boiled and eaten like spinach or used as an ingredient in salads.
Lavender has many uses around the home, including as part of recipes. English lavender varieties (Lavender angustifolia) have the best flavor for recipes, which range from sweet to savory. Lavender water, candy, sauces, and dressings all have a light citrus taste with an underlying tang of rosemary and sage. Remove all the flowers from the stalk when cooking. These plants love sunlight and need well-drained soil.
Nasturtium is the most popular of all edible flowers and has been used for centuries as a component of salads and an ingredient similar in taste to watercress. You can eat the leaves and flowers. Plenty of colors are available, so they work well as a contrasting color in salads and garnish. This plant thrives well in both sun and light shade.
Pansies taste similar to grapes. The flowers are used for garnish, salads, and cake decoration. Pansies will grow well in anything except direct sunlight. However, the moisture levels will vary by pansy type, so read the seed packet carefully.
Pinks have a delicate flavor with a touch of cloves. They are popular as an addition to hot tea and cider. The flowers are also an attractive garnish for creamy soups, fruit salads, and cookie platters. Pinks need a lot of sunlight and very rich soil to thrive. There are different species of pinks, so read the seed packet carefully. They are mildly toxic to pets.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) has yellow, orange, or gold flowers and a peppery taste. It is often used to color rice dishes instead of saffron. It is safe for dogs but not cats.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have white, lavender, or purple flowers and a strong onion taste. They are often used to top baked potatoes and some sour cream. They can also be used in soups. Unfortunately, they are mildly toxic to pets.
Hibiscus (hibiscus rosa-sinensis) comes in lush purple, pink and blueish blooms and is a source of vitamin C. It is a common ingredient in many herbal tea varieties due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used for centuries as medicine as well. Look for Hibiscus sabdariffa to make tea, syrup, and jam. Unfortunately, it is highly toxic for pets.
These tasty flowers come in various vivid colors and taste similar to watercress. They are often used as a substitute for watercress in sandwiches, salads, and garnish. The leaves and flowers are both edible. They are easy to grow in well-drained soil near a sunny window. Unfortunately, they can be toxic to pets.
Violets (Viola odorata, viola x wittrockiana) have a lovely color and a delicate floral taste. Wild violets have been used for centuries in syrups and infusions to enhance drinks and desserts. The blossoms can also be candied and preserved. They are perfect for a sunny window-sill garden. These plants don't want a lot of heat; a temperate place near a sunny window will do. They are considered non-toxic for pets.
How to use edible flowers
Edible flowers work great in various recipes, from soups and stews to salads. But their vivid colors and pretty appearance can also help you create a new level of interest and flavor as you produce more exotic-looking dishes or use the flowers as vibrant garnishes.
Place a flower or two in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Add water and freeze. Add to clear drinks. It also uses fresh flowers as garnish. Depending on your chosen flowers, they can add a lemony tang, the taste of cucumber, and more.
Add flowers to your popsicle containers, fill them with liquid, add the stick, and freeze. You can have a colorful array of sunny-looking popsicles laden with flowers and exciting tastes, such as lemon, mint, or lavender.
You can make your lollipops with sugar syrup and sticks. Try to find one perfect flower per pop. You can then arrange them on a stand and dazzle people with the colors.
Candied violets have been used for centuries as a sweet treat and an elegant way to decorate cakes. Create a box to pass around when guests come or give as gifts.
Clear gelatin and some sugar can be the foundation of vividly-colored jellied candies. If you like, you can add rosewater and rose petals to make your Turkish delight. Make a tray, chill it well, and cut it into small squares. Toss the squares in some powdered sugar to stop them from sticking together.
Fresh or dried edible flowers can dress up any cake. You can also use candied flowers. Some people use buttercream frosting and place the flowers around the top and sides of the cake.
Other cooks use fondant icing, a soft sugar paste that you roll out until it is large enough to cover the cake you wish to frost. Consider scattering flowers and petals onto the fondant as you give it a last rollout before you place it on top of the cake.
Use edible flowers as charming cupcake toppers. You can also make frosting from the flowers, such as roses.
Make your usual sugar cookie dough. Roll it out, cut it into cookies, and roll a fresh flower into the top of each cookie. Use a variety of blossoms, and you will be able to create a stunning-looking cookie platter.
Cocktails & Syrups
Make infused spirits with flowers to enjoy the fragrance for a long time. You can also create syrups from edible flowers to add color, flavor, and consistency to cocktails and mocktails (you can use seltzer instead of alcohol in most cases).
Some edible flowers and botanicals like hibiscus and rose hip are the basis for most commercial herbal teas, so you can enjoy experimenting with different blends. The most basic herbal tea can be made with fresh or dried chamomile flowers. It is pretty and good for digestion.
Layer the flowers with layers of yogurt and perhaps some granola or nuts for a light, refreshing dessert or breakfast.
Use these and your ideas to brighten up your dishes with flower petals.
Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are an excellent way to cook for two reasons. First, everything goes into one pot to simmer for easy cooking and clean-up. The second is that everything is cooked together without losing nutrition.
Soups and stews also tend to be very hearty and filling. Therefore, they are ideal during chilly weather. Chances are you wonít overeat either, because the food will be so flavorful and satisfying.
The herbs you use will depend on the main ingredients in the soup. Seasonings like sage, rosemary, and thyme will enhance the food for lamb. Add a range of vegetables, such as peas, carrots, and potato wedges, for a complete meal.
One of the most popular sauces is Italian tomato sauce to pour over pasta. You can make your own in minutes with some fresh tomatoes that have been cored and quartered and some oregano, basil, and a dash of olive oil. Some people lightly sauté the herbs in olive oil to release more flavor.
Other sauces can liven up chicken, fish, and beef. It is all a question of learning which herbs you prefer, which can be a fun journey of exploration.
Garnishes and Decoration
Edible flowers and herbs have been used for centuries to make food more attractive, adding flavor if the items used are intended to be eaten. For example, you can add flowers to ice cubes to add beauty and flavor to a pitcher of drinks or a cheese platter. Likewise, your salads can take on new and vibrant colors with the help of nasturtiums and other edible flowers.
Flowers As Dessert
Edible flowers and some herbs were also the foundation of the desserts our ancestors loved. Rose petals and rose water were highly prized and used in many recipes. Violets and other flowers were candied and eaten or used to decorate cakes and puddings. Jellies were also very popular and were both tasty and nutritious.