When people think flowers they think weddings, romance, and decoration. But, did you know some flowers can go far beyond that? There are some flowers that are edible and are a part of many cuisines across the globe.
Flowers are often included in European, Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Squash blossoms are commonly found in Mexican and Italian fare, and rose petals are found in several Indian dishes.
Flower petals are often found in salads and teas and are regularly used as garnishes for desserts. Adding flowers to food is a great way to add color and flavor. Some flowers are a little more on the spicy side (like chive blossoms) and others are more floral and fragrant. Some have a flavor reminiscent of your favorite herbs.
Cooking with flowers allows for much culinary creativity. We have put together a list of 10 edible flowers to help you get started on your floral food journey.
- Allium Plants in the allium family include onions, chives, leeks, garlic, and scallions. All blossoms from the allium family are edible and flavorful. In fact, the entire plant is edible.
- Basil The basil blossoms come in a range of colors, from white to pink to lavender. Their flavor is similar to the leaves, but are milder. When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as faluda, sherbet or hột é.
- Chamomile These flowers are small and resemble daisies. They have a sweet flavor and are most commonly used in teas. Chamomile teas are often used in treating hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasm, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, and hemorrhoids. People who suffer from ragweed allergies may also be allergic to chamomile.
- Dandelion The entire dandelion plant is edible. The flower is slightly bitter and the leaves are a little more grassy-sweet. For a special treat, get out early in spring and look for the crown, which is the cluster of new buds that sits above the taproot. These are the sweetest parts of the plant.
- Dill The yellow flower of the dill plant tastes a lot like leaves of the herb, but make the dish more colorful.
- Lavender Sweet and spicy the flowers are a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes. It is often used in salads and dressings. Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal teas.
- Radish Radish flowers have a distinctive, peppery bite.
- Squash and pumpkin Blossoms from both are perfect for stuffing, each having a slight squash flavor. Remove stamens before using.
- Sunflower We all know you can eat the seeds, but you can also eat the petals and steam the bud like an artichoke.
- Violets Sweet in taste and make beautiful garnishes. These flowers are excellent additions to salads.
When you don’t know what a flower is for sure it can be dangerous to consume. Only eat the flowers you know for certain are edible. You should consult a reference book on edible flowers and plants to be sure. Your best bet is to eat flowers you have grown yourself. That way you are positive what you are eating and you can avoid contaminants from pesticides or pollutions. With all flowers be sure that you are only eating the petals and are removing the pistils and stamens before consumption. You should also introduce flowers to your diet gradually as they can exacerbate allergies.24