From Antivist


Safety Reminder

Be careful not to pick flowers exposed to pesticides or those growing by the roadside. Also, be cautious if you have hay fever, asthma, or allergies.

From The Garden To Kitchen

Harvest flowers in the morning after the dew has evaporated. Choose flowers at their peak for best flavor. After picking, put long-stemmed flowers in water and keep in a cool place. Use short-stemmed blossoms within a few hours of harvest or store between layers of damp paper toweling or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Just before using, gently wash flowers, checking thoroughly for insects and soil.

For Best Flavor

Remove the stamens and pistils from flowers. Also remove the sepals (except on pansies, violas, and Johnny-jump-ups, in which they add to the flavor)/

To Dry Edible Flowers

Some flowers dry well, while others lose their flavor during drying. Check by drying a few samples before drying a whole crop. Gather flowers in early morning before the sun shines on them. Hang upside down by the stems in a dark, well-ventilated area. (If picked separately, place on a fine screen.) Once dry, labels and store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.


Common Name Scientific name Flavor Color Comments
Anise hyssop Agastache foeniculum Anise Lilac Self seeding
Bee balm Monarda didyma Minty, sweet, hot Wide range
Chamomile Chamaemelum noblis Sweet apple White drink tea in moderation – contains

thuaone; ragweed sufferers may be allergic to chamomile

Chicory Cichorium intybus Herbal Blue
Chives Allium schoeonoprasum Onion Lavender-pink avoid eating whole flower; taste can be overwhelming
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Sweet, honey-like Yellow use young flowers, mature flowers become bitter; flowers close after picking
Daylily Hemerocallis spp. Vegetal, sweet Wide range may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation
Dianthus Dianthus spp. Sweet clove flavor Wide range remove the narrow base of the petals (bitter)
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis Sweet White do not wash flowers since it removes much of the flavor
English daisy Bellis perennis Mildly bitter Pink ray flowers have a mildly bitter taste
Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica Sweet White to pale yellow do not use other honeysuckle flowers
Lavender Lavendula spp. Sweet, perfumed flavor Lavender use sparingly due to intense flavor; lavender oil may be poisonous
Lilac Syringa vulgaris Varies Lavender Wide variation in flavor -- from no flavor to green and herbaceous to lilac
Lovage Levisticum officinale Celery White
Mint Mentha spp. Minty Purple each type of mint has its own unique flavor
Pineapple sage Salvia elegans Sweet, fruity Red flavor has a hint of mint and spice
Rose Rosa spp. Perfumed Wide range remove the white, bitter base of the petal
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Herbal Blue
Sage Salvia officinalis Herbal Purple-blue
Scented geraniums Pelargonium spp. Varies Wide range the flavor is usually similar to the scent of the leaves
Thyme Thymus spp. Herbal White herb
Violet Viola odorata Sweet, perfumed Purple, white use candied or fresh


Common Name Scientific name Flavor Color Comments
Arugula Eruca vesicaria sativa Spicy White once flowers form the leaves become bitter
Bachelor's button Centaurea cyanus Vegetal White, pink, blue petals are edible; the calyx is bitter
Basil Ocimum basilicum Herbal White, lavender
Borage Borago officinalis Herbal Blue use with nasturtium; use sparingly -- diuretic effects
Broccoli Brassica officinalis Spicy Green
Calendula Calendula officinalis Slightly bitter Yellow, orange most often used for color rather than flavor
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium Herbal White
Dill Anethum graveolens Herbal Yellowish-green
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Mildly anise Yellow-green Normally grown as an
Marigold Tagetes patula Bitter Yellow, orange Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem have the best flavor
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus Spicy, peppery Wide range
Okra Abelmoschus esculentus Vegetal Yellow
Pansy Viola x wittrockiana Vegetal Wide range has a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor;

petals have a mild flavor; whole flower has a wintergreen flavor

Red clover Trifolium pratense Sweet Red raw clover flowers are not easily digestible
Scarlet runner bean Phaseolus vulgaris Vegetal Purple flower only last one to two days
Signet marigold Tagetes signata Spicy, herbal Yellow may be harmful if eaten in large amounts; other marigolds are edible but have a tangy to bitter flavor
Snapdragon Anthirrhinum majus Bitter Wide range use as a garnish
Squash Curcubita pepo Vegetal Yellow
Sunflower Helianthus annuus Varies Yellow flower is best eaten in bud stage when it has an artichoke flavor; petals of open flowers have a bitter- sweet flavor; pollen can cause a reaction for some people

Using Edible Flowers

This edible flower list gives you some ideas about the wide variety of flowers that can safely be consumed. Most flowers taste better when used raw, but others, such as okra and sunflowers, are delicious cooked as well.

When cooking flowers or adding them to a finished dish, remember that most flowers are delicate and excessive heat will cause them to lose their flavor.

Edible flowers make a wonderful garnish floated in soups, on salads, at the side of a plate or on desserts. Consider "sugaring" edible flowers when you use them to decorate pastries.

Warnings About Using Flowers

First, don't use flowers that aren't edible on or near food. If you aren't sure if a flower is edible, don't use it. Use the edible flowers list above as a guide when making your choices. People will assume that a flower is edible by virtue of its being placed on a plate.

Always know where your flowers are coming from. Growing them yourself is the best possible way to get your flowers because you know that nothing has been sprayed on them.

If you can't grow your own edible flowers or just need to buy some extras, make sure they were organically grown and had no pesticides used on them. Flowers can be difficult to clean so this is really the best option.

Cleaning Edible Flowers

Before using any flowers from the edible flowers list, shake them gently while holding them upside down to make sure there are no bugs in them. Remove the stamen and rinse them gently in a sink or bowl of water.

Allow them to dry outside of direct sunlight. The faster they dry, the more flavor will be retained.

Edible flowers may be stored tightly sealed in a container or wrapped in plastic. You can also keep flowers on their stems stored in the refrigerator in a glass or jar of water.

If your flowers have wilted before you want to use them, place them in a bowl of ice water for a few seconds.

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