Glamorous. Bold. Beautiful. Edible flowers add unique appeal to both sweet and savory dishes, along with distinctive textures and flavors. Filled with minerals and antioxidants, they’re also a healthy addition to your diet.
Ranging in taste from tangy and spicy to mellow and mild, you can use edible flowers for cakes, fresh salads, hot salsas, and side dishes. Get creative, and add some color, innovation, and elegance to your next meal.
What types of flowers can I eat?
Don’t just start nibbling on your neighbor’s patch of tulips. Some blooms are poisonous and can be toxic to your system. You’re safe with the following varieties of edible flower petals:
- Lemon Verbena
- Arugula Flowers
- Johnny Jump-Ups
- Day Lilies
- Chive Blossoms
Where do I find edible flowers?
Shop for fresh petals that are specifically designated as edible flowers for cakes and other foods. The best place to find blooms for cooking and eating is at your local farmers market. You can also find them at many natural food stores. Edible petals can also be ordered online and shipped to you overnight, on websites like Melissa’s, Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, and Marx Foods. Whatever you do, don’t eat regular flowers from the florist or garden section of the grocery store. Most of these blooms have been treated with chemicals to stay fresh longer.
How do I store the flowers?
Shake your flowers gently to get rid of any dirt or insects, and then wash lightly in a large bowl of cool water. Drain and let your blooms air-dry on a clean cloth towel or paper towel. If you aren’t going to use them immediately, store your flowers in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container lined with slightly damp paper towels. They’ll stay fresh for up to one week.
How do I add edible petals to my meals?
First, take a good deep sniff of each type of flower petal – they usually taste like they smell. Get creative and add the blooms to any dish that needs perking up.
Salads – Roses and pansies work well in tossed green salads. Rose petals add a soft sweetness and pair well with mild onions, and pansies add a vibrant flair and feint grassy taste.
From the Organic Authority Files
Salsas – Bright gold nasturtiums and arugula flowers provide a peppery flavor that’s perfect for jazzing up your homemade salsa.
Rice Dishes – Chop up orchids to add texture to rice dishes, or use dianthus for an earthy, clove-like flavor.
Desserts – Everyone knows about using edible flowers for cakes as a show-stopping garnish. But you can also mix in the petals to the batter itself for a unique effect, or use them to top off your ice cream sundae.
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Edible flowers image via Shutterstock