Edible Flowers: Set the Table With Floral Favors

Those cute and colorful little buttercream buds used to decorate frosted cakes are not the only edible petals safe for pleasing the palate. Some of those annuals planted in the garden don’t only create a lovely bouquet centerpiece, but they can add a gourmet touch to your brunch menu. Typically, petals are what can be consumed, not the stamen or pistil inside the flower.

Furthermore, keep in mind that some posies are poisonous and even an edible flower may have toxic components. Never eat flowers that were treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Therefore, it may be best to grow your own or at least purchase those labeled “certified organic.” Below is a short list to help spruce up your next salad, naturally sweeten a drink, and more.

Dandelions Make for a Dandy Addition

Dandelion tea is not only delicious (and may help lower blood sugar) but also try popping off the not-too-sweet honey-like flavor blooms and mix into the batter for biscuits, scones, or shortbread. For a crowd-pleasing appetizer, dunk the petals in tempura batter, do a quick deep-fry, and serve with dipping sauce.

Sip Some Hibiscus

Loaded with antioxidants and a reputation for helping to lower blood pressure, the mild citrus-cranberry flavored hibiscus flowers are delicious for teas or cocktails.

Roses Are Red but Violets Are More than Blue

The fresh mild taste of these pansy-like blooms pairs well with herbs. Chop a handful of violet petals along with the same amount of snipped basil, chive, and parsley. Blend the ingredients into softened cream cheese and spread on your favorite bread or cracker.

Cooking with Clover

The white flower of clover has a flavor similar to vanilla. So, the next time you bake, consider adding a few petals to your next batch of baked goods. Red clover is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to make a healthy cup of tea.

Marigold – The Poor Man’s Saffron

While there are different varieties of marigolds, all of them don’t taste the same. The French marigold (Tagetes patula) and the gem marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) are reported to have the best tangy flavor. Use them for their rich color to brighten up a salad or mix them with bean sprouts, julienned carrots, and sliced scallions as the filling for a vegan summer roll.

Make Jam or Jelly from Picked Peonies

That amazing fruity aroma stemming from peony petals can be put to snack-worthy use. Just pluck four cups worth of petals before they turn brown and boil in five cups of water. Let steep overnight then strain the water from the petals. Add three tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the liquid. Toss out the petals. Bring to a boil, adding three cups of sugar and one package of liquid pectin or two tablespoons of powdered pectin. Boil again for three minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool. Now, you’ve just made some peony jelly.

Wow Guests with Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are not only fully edible, but they can also lure aphids away from other plants in the garden. Now, for the edible part. Having a slightly spicy flavor akin to mustard, the petals pair well with walnuts, beets, and even salads. They are ideal for serving as finger food, stuffed with goat cheese.

So, imagine cultivating a bountiful garden that takes full advantage of what nature has to offer – herbs, vegetables, and yes, even edible flowers.

-Sharon Oliver

Photo by Gyubin Hong,

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Sharon Oliver is a freelance writer and cozy mystery novelist. A native northerner currently living somewhere in the south, she loves British detective shows and will cover and defend (especially funk) music-related news to the bitter end because this is One Nation Under A Groove. Twitter: @olivershar7

1 comment on “Edible Flowers: Set the Table With Floral Favors

  1. Harriet Gilkerson

    Great article!

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