We are really lucky in Carnation, WA to have an awesome summer Farmer’s Market every Tuesday. On a recent market day, they feature edible flowers and edible flower recipes.
Last week they were featuring edible flowers, and I thought it would be a GREAT topic for an Herbal Branch. Kimberly often tops our summer salads with flowers from our garden, including nasturtium and calendula.
Yep! The same calendula that’s in your herbal salve you made in the Herbal Remedy Kit.
Not many people know you can eat flowers at all, let alone which ones are tasty or how to use them in their cooking. So, here is your “quick-start” guide to eating flowers. We also have a long list of flowers you can use in salads and other edible flower recipes.
Before we get into WHAT flowers to eat, let’s cover a few rules…
Ten Rules of Edible Flowers for Edible Flower Recipes
- Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible.
- Just because flowers are served with food does not mean they are edible. (See rule #1)
- Eat only the flowers that have been grown organically.
- Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers unless you know they have been grown organically (see rule #3)
- If you have hay fever, asthma or allergies, do not eat flowers, or do so cautiously, (see rule #7 & #10).
- Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road. They may be contaminated from car emissions (see rule #3).
- Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only the petals.
- Not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous.
- There are many varieties of any one flower. Flowers taste different when grown in different locations.
- Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby- one at a time in small quantities.
This list is from Edible Flowers, From Garden to Palate, by Cathy Wilkinson Barash
Here are ideas for edible flower recipes:
- Infused vinegars
- Syrups and jellies
- Beverages, wines, meads
- Flower butter
- Dips and spreads
- Garnish and color
Flowers for salads and edible flower recipes
|Arugala, Eruca vericaria||Salads, snacking||Nutty, spicy, peppery flavor|
|Borage, Borago officinalis||Salads, snacking||Tastes like light cucumber, remove thorny backside|
|Bachelor button, Centauria cynaus||Salads||Sweet to spicy, clovelike|
|Burnet, Sanguisorba minor||Salads||Flavorless, but colorful|
|Calendula, Calenudla officinalis||Salads, teas||Spicy, tangy, ‘poor man’s saffron’ adds golden color to foods|
|Daylily, Hemerocallis species||Salads, sautés||Sweet, crunchy, somewhat like a water chestnut|
|Lavender, Lavendula species||Salads, teas||Floral, strong perfumey flavor, use very lightly for color|
|Marigold, Tagetes tenuifolia||Salads, teas||Spicy to bitter|
|Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus||Salads||Sweet, mildly pungent to peppery flavor|
|Onion/garlic, Allium species||Salads, stir fry||Sweet onion, garlic flavor|
|Pansy, Viola spp.||Salads||Mild sweet to tart flavor|
|Pea, Pisum species (sweet pea is poisonous)||Salads, stir fry||Tastes like peas, also add tendrils or fresh new shoots|
|Rose, Rosa species||Salads, teas, infusions||Sweet, aromatic flavor; remove the white bitter portion of petals|
|Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis||Salads, teas||Pinelike, sweet, savory|
|Squah Blossom, Cucurbito pep species||Salads, sautés, stuffed/battered||Sweet, nectar flavor|
|Thyme, Thymus vulgaris||Salads, teas||Lemony, adds a nice light scent|
|Violet, Viola species||Salads, teas||Sweet, nectary flavor|
That’s quite a comprehensive chart for planning your edible flower recipes.