Edible Flowers

Flowers have been eaten all over the world since antiquity. They have been incorporated into traditional foods of numerous cultures.

The Chinese have been using daylilies, lotus, and chrysanthemums in their cuisine for centuries.

Romans used mallow, rose and violets, Italian and Hispanic cultures used stuffed squash blossoms, not forgetting the Asians who till today use rose petals liberally.

During the Elizabethan era primroses were stewed and fondant was made of gillyflower.

Queen Bess loved Lavender conserve. American colonists made violet vinegar, Oswego tea with bergamot flowers, and mutton broth with marigolds.

Odysseus encountered the lotus-eating Sybarites on his way home from Troy.

Charlemagne ordered his wine to be flavoured with carnations.

Chartreuse, a classic green liqueur developed in France in the seventeenth century, uses carnation petals as one of its secret ingredients.

Dandelions and numerous other flowers were referred to in the Old Testament of the Bible. So eating flowers is nothing new!!!

Edible flowers make food for any occasion special. They add a magical touch, distinctive colour and taste to salads, cakes and pastries, and elegance to beverages when floating in a punch bowl or frozen in ice cubes.

Favourite uses include using them fresh in salads, soups, many entrees, and desserts, as garnish dishes, adding colour and taste to salad vinaigrettes, making festive ice rings, and as candied flowers.

There are so many varieties and colours of flowers that you can choose any, to fit in with your decor for special occasions.

Before experimenting with the pretty flowers, you must know which flowers are safe and unsafe for eating. Flowers of all culinary herbs are safe to use. As long as the leaf of a herb is edible, then so is the flower. Herb blossoms have the same flavour as their leaves, except chamomile and lavender blossoms, their flavour is usually more subtle. A good way to experiment to use the flowers of a herb in recipes calling for that particular herb.

Listed below are some edible flowers:

Acacia Blossoms: Acacia Senegal
Almond Blossoms: Prunus amygdalu
Aloe Vera: Aloe barbadensis
Althea: Hibiscus syriacus
Alyssum: Lobularia maritima
Anchusa: Anchusa azurea mild, rather nondescript taste
Anise Hyssop: Agastache foeniculum purple or blue flowers, anise flavour; great with salads and fruit
Apple Blossoms: Malus spp. floral flavour
Arugula: (Eruca sativa) white flowers; nutty, spicy in taste; good in sandwiches or salads
Bachelor Buttons: Centaurea cyanus
Banana: Musa paradisiaca
Basil: Ocimum basilicum white, blue, pink, lavender flowers; taste varies
Bean Blossoms: taste just like beans
Bee Balm: Monarda didyma red, pink flowers; sweet, floral, lemony taste
Begonia: Begonia X tuberhybrida red, yellow, pink, orange flowers; spicy, crisp, sour, lemony flavour
Borage: Borage officinalis purple and pink flowers with a sweet cucumber like taste; adds coolness to drinks
Calendula: Calendula officinalis orange, white or yellow blossoms with mild, pepepry taste; use in salads
Calamint: Calamintha nepeta
Carnation: Dianthus spp. pink, red, lavender flowers; spicy, peppery, clove-like flavour
Chamomile: Matricaria recutita delicate white flowers; mild and sweet for tea, salads, as a garnishes
Chervil: Anthriscus cerefolium
Chicory: Cichorium intybus mild flavoured petals of the bright blue chicory blossom can be sprinkled in salads or used as a garnish
Chives: Allium spp. lavender flowers; spicy flavour
Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemum spp. faint peppery to mild cauliflower taste; blanch first then scatter petals on salad
Cilantro: Coriandrum sativum
Clary Sage: Salvia sclarea Spicy flavour; use in salads
Cornflower: Centaurea cyanus blue, pink flowers; sweet to spicy, clove-like flavour
Daffodil Garlic: Allium neapolitanum sweet, mild garlic flavour; use raw or cooked, or in salads the small bulbs can be used like onions
Daisy: Bellis perennis yellow and white flowers; mild with a light mint or clover flavour. Use only the petals
Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale slightly bitter taste; good in salads
Daylily: Hemerocallis spp. shades of orange and yellow; slightly sweet tasting bloom; decorate salads or cakes
Dewberry: Rubus caesius
Dill: Anethum graveolens
Elderberry: Sambucus racemosa L. elderberries were cooked and sweetened before eating. They were also used as medicine for constipation.
English primroses: Primula polyantha Mill
Feijoa: Feijoa sellowiana flowers are delicious, tasting more like a fruit than many fruits.
Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare yellow flowers; sweet, liquorice taste
Forget-me-not: Myosotis sylvatica flowering tops are added to salads or used as a garnish for their blue, pink, and occasionally white colour.
Freesia: Freesia
Fuchsia: Fuchsia X hybrida bi-colours, varied; acidic taste
Gardenia: gardenia jasminoides J. Ellis
Gladiolus: Gladiolus callianthus
Garlic chives: Allium tuberosum mild garlic flavour, use raw or cooked, great in salads
Geraniums: Pelargonium spp. pink, red, white, purple flowers; lemon to rose to mint flavour; use in salads or garnish cakes
Ginger: Zingiber officinale Rosc.
Hibiscus: H.rosa-sinensis many colours; great for making wine
Hollyhock: Althaea rosea pastel colours; slightly sweet; particularly good stuffed
Honeysuckle: Lonicera japonica pale red or yellow in colour; tastes just like it smells
Hyssop: Agastache foeniculum
Indian cress: Tropaeolum majus
Impatiens: Impatiens wallerana pink, many colours; bland
Jasmine: Jasminum officinale
Johnny Jump Up: Viola tricolour purple, white, yellow flowers; sweet to bland Use to decorate cheese plates, sliced fruit, cakes, or salads. You can also candy them.
Jamaica sorrel: A tropical flower grown for it crimson sepal, which is used to flavour dinks, jams and sauces. It is available dried and fresh during the Christmas season in Jamaica.
Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia purple flowers (mint family); strong flavoured; Use for marinades, jellies and garnishe
Lemon: Citrus limonum
Lilac: Syringa vulgaris lavender flowers; lemony, floral, pungent flavour; good for marinades, jellies and garnishes.
Lovage: Levisticum officinale

Aromatic edible flowers used in confections, as are the crystallized stems. Roots are sometimes brewed as tea or shredded for use in salads. They are also preserved in honey. Leaves are used in cheeses, eggs, salads, stews and with chicken. A small amount can be added to Béchamel-based sauces, such as Mornay, for use on baked fish. In Turkey, a kind of meatloaf is made using Allspice, Garlic and Lovage in the forcemeat. It is served with yogurt and Mint. Lovage leaves can be used in any recipe that calls for Celery Leaves -- just use less, as Lovage is about twice as strong in flavour Seeds are used as flavouring for breads, cordials, potatoes, poultry dressings, rice and salads. They appear in the recipes for some French liqueurs. They are sometimes pickled in brine.

Marigold: Tagetes spp.
Yellow and orange; spicy flavour; good in salads, sauces, soups or with fish or roasts
Marjoram: Majorana hortensis used for flavouring for meats, salads, omeletes, vinegars, jellies and teas;
Mint: Mentha spicata
Mustard: Brassica juncea yellow or white flowers; mild taste
Nasturtium: Tropaeolum majus yellow, orange, red, rust with a peppery radish like flavour; try them with guacamole

Okra: Abelmoschus esculentus yellow flowers
Orange: Citrus aurantium L.
Oregano: Origanum vulgare
Pansy: Viola x wittrockiana
Parsley:
Passionflower: Passiflora incarnata
Parrot-beak: Clianthus puniceus yellow, red, bi-colours; crisp, leafy taste
Pea:
Peach: Prunus persica
Petunia: Petunia X hybrida many colours; leafy taste
Plum Blossoms: Prunus mume
Pineapple sage: Salvia elegans red; sweet, pineapple flavour
Primrose: Primula vulgaris many colours; sweet to bland
Purslane: Montia sibirica mild flavour with an earthy after-taste like raw beetroot. use in salads or cook them
Radish: Raphanus sativus
Red Clover:
Rose: Rosa spp. flavours vary, red and purple flowers are sweet, darker petals have the most intense flavours; use for syrups, jams, and for crystallizing

Rosemary: Rosemarinus officinalis light blue flowers; flavour varies by breed
Safflower: a kind of crocus (saffron) its stigma is a prized herb
Sage:
Salad Burnet: Poterium sanguisorbac. Leaves taste and smell like cucumber and are used in salads, salad dressings, iced drinks, egg dishes, cottage cheese, butter, cream cheeses, and vinegar, or as a garnish.

Scarlet Runner bean: Phaseolus coccineus scarlet flowers; nectar, bean-like taste
Scented Geraniums:
Snapdragon: Antirrhinum majus pink, yellow, white, bi-colour; bland to bitter taste
Society Garlic:
Sunflower: Helianthus annus gold, yellow; leafy taste
Sweet Pea:
Sweet woodruff:
Squash blossoms: Cucurbita pepo yellow flowers; nectar, sweet flavour
Thyme: Thymus vulgaris white, purple flowers; lemony taste
Tulip: Tulipa spp. many colours; crisp, cucumber-like flavour
Violets/Viola: Viola odorata bluish purple flowers; sweet taste; use in salads, honeys or crystallized
Watercress:
Water lily:
Wood Sorrel: Oxalis
Yucca: Yucca spp. use the petals only
Zucchini: Cucurbita spp.

 
Sourced from the internet

 

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