Add pizzaz to your recipes with incredible, edible flowers! Learn all about what kind of flowers to use and how to use them.
Have you noticed that we LOVE to garnish both sweet and savory dishes with beautiful flowers? If you’ve ever been curious about these little beauties, this is the post for you!
Since edible flowers can be such an easy yet stunning way to add a pop of pizzaz to so many dishes, I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions regarding flowers and food.
Are all flowers edible?
No! Just like mushrooms, there are lots of varieties that are edible, those that just don’t taste good and those that are actually poisonous. So it’s super important to know which ones are safe for consumption.
Which flowers can you eat and what do they taste like?
There are tons of edible flowers, but lots of them are very common. Some edible flowers have almost no flavor at all. Others taste similar to the way they smell.
Here’s a list of some of most common edible flowers and what they taste like:
- Pansies are probably the most common of all edible flowers, so pretty and they come in a wide range of colors and hues. Pansies are really more showy than flavorful, but you might note a slight “grassy” taste.
- Violets grow wild in the spring and early summer (depending on where you live) and can also be grown as a landscape perennial (know as sweet violets). Violets have a sweet, floral flavor. The whole plant is actually edible, leaves and all! However, don’t confuse violets with African violets which are usually considered non-edible.
- Johnny-Jump-Ups look like miniature pansies, but have a different flavor. They have a slight “mint” flavor, some say they taste a bit like bubblegum! They’re perfect on cakes or with soft mild cheese, like this Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer! Johnny-jump-ups, pansies and violets are all members of the Viola genus.
- Marigolds, like the name says, come in shades of yellow and gold. They have a mild citrus flavor. Another bonus to marigolds? Deer are not too wild about them, and tend to leave them alone in the garden!
- Roses are not only beautiful to look at and smell! All roses are edible, each has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor. So stop and eat the roses!
- Honeysuckle flowers are abundant in the spring and, like the name says, have a sweet honey taste. They can be used as a pretty garnish, but also for tea, jelly, syrup and lots of other things. Check out this amazing Honeysuckle Ice Cream from my friend, Sue over at The View from Great Island! Just a note: only the flowers are edible, the berries are poisonous!
- Chive Blossoms are a beautiful pale purple and have a mild chive taste. They’re lovely in salads and you can break apart the flowers and sprinkle the tiny pretty purple petals over vegetables, eggs, soup, potato salad, etc.
- Dandelions aren’t just pesky weeds! It’s fairly common knowledge that you can eat dandelion greens. But everything; the leaves, the flowers and even the roots of the dandelion plant are edible. Dandelion leaves are a bit bitter, but the flowers have a sweet flavor. Their bright, cheerful color makes a beautiful addition to salads!
- Nasturtium is one of my favorite flowers both for displaying and eating. Nasturtiums have brightly colored red, orange and/or yellow blossoms and add a beautiful splash of color to garnish cakes, pastries, salads, soups, etc. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and have a slightly peppery flavor a bit like arugula. The blossoms have a milder taste. Nasturtium is actually quite healthy for you too, containing a variety of minerals and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties!
- Cornflowers, also known as Batchelor Buttons have a sweet, spicy clove-like flavor. Their brilliant blueish-purple hue adds an eye-catching touch!
- Campanula is one of the edible flowers I used in my Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer. It has a mild, bland flavor so it’s used more for the pretty purple flowers than for added flavor. The leaves and flowers of the Campanula plant can be used in salads and as an edible garnish for lots of other dishes.
- Candytuft, the whole plant is edible, but it is very bitter – for this reason, I use it more for decorating than as a part of a salad, dessert, etc.
- Chamomile has gentle notes of apple with a mellow, honey-like sweetness in the cup. It also makes a really pretty indoor flower bouquet as lasts for at least a week in water.
Where do I find edible flowers?
The best way to be able to use edible flowers is to grow your own. Most edible flowers can be grown from seed and how fun to be able to walk out your door and pick a few blossoms to add a splash of fun color to your food!
You can also find edible flowers at nurseries, farmer’s markets and in the produce section of some grocery stores. You’ll just want to make sure that the flowers haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or unsafe chemicals. Also, be sure to carefully rinse any flowers that you use to decorate your food creations!
Check with your local florist. Florists often have sources for local edible flowers.
Here are some of our favorite dishes in which we have incorporated edible flowers – enjoy!
This easy Goat Cheese Appetizer with lemon, thyme and honey takes 10 minutes to put together. You can add edible flowers for a “wow” factor!
This beautiful Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad is super healthy and probably the freshest, most delicious salad that you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting… or eating! It’s perfect for a crowd, great for parties, potlucks and picnics!
With a crisp, buttery coconut crust and a silky-smooth lemon filling that both come together in the microwave, this French Lemon Tart will be requested again and again!
This one-bowl, no-mixer, Ridiculously Easy Brown Sugar Shortbread takes minutes to put together. The dough is pressed into a pan so there’s no scooping, rolling or cutting. Oh yes – and all the taste-testers say it’s ridiculously delicious!
A modern update to the old-fashioned icebox torte, this Limoncello Lemon Tart is melt-in-your-mouth delicious – with a few fabulous gourmet touches!
Incredibly delicious and chocked full of healthy veggies, this vibrantly green Thai Broccoli Spinach Soup comes together quickly and can be served as a side or a complete meal in a bowl!
A combination of cake and cheesecake, this delicious Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake is a one-bowl, no-mixer recipe you can throw together in minutes!
This creamy, Mediterranean Lemon Feta Dip is perfect for parties, picnics and potlucks. Serve it with raw veggies or chips for a delicious appetizer or snack!
Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake is the answer when you need a moist, buttery, delicious and easy dessert – in a hurry!
This easy Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake recipe includes a tender-crumbed, super moist white cake with a delicious lemon curd filling and icing. Make the ridiculously easy lemon curd in minutes!
Wondering about the salad at the top of the post (and below)? It’s a new recipe that we’ll be sharing next week, our Fresh Corn Blackberry Arugula Salad. It’s delicious!
Thought for the day:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy any of these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.