Find out which flowers you can eat and how to use them
Flowers you can eat - what flowers are edible
“My love of flowers has been part of me ever since I can remember. I have always loved anything floral. This has now flowed into my delight in producing plates of food that have floral garnishes.” Annie Albers
Since I started researching the edibility of flowers I have been amazed at how many of our every day flowers are flowers you can eat!
If you have a garden you most likely, already grow some edible flowers.
Eating flowers has become very popular in recent times and this website will help you get to know which flowers are edible and how you can use flowers in food.
There are so many simple ways to use edible flowers to garnish, decorate or enhance the flavours in your menu. Many will be amazed at how many of our usual common garden flowers are edible and can be enjoyed in both the vase or the plate.
On this site you will find out what common flowers are edible, and what flavours they have. Many edible flowers have potential health benefits and are high in anti oxidants and nutrients as well as being used in natural remedies. We will be exploring many different ways on this website that you can use edible flowers to add that little bit of pizzazz to your food and drinks. We will explore the best edible flowers to use and which ones can enhance flavours as well as increase the visual appeal of your plate.
Apart from their visual appeal, many edible flowers have additional nutritious and medicinal properties. Many flowers have high levels of flavonoids, such as carotenoids and vitamins and although the nutritious value varies widely, it’s good to know that the flowers you are consuming do have a positive effect on your body (not only on your eyes!)
I’m sure you will love the results by just letting yourself go and expressing your love of flowers on your food and drinks.
Edible flowers list
This list of edible flowers with pictures (of which there are many more than those listed here) will help you know which flowers are edible. I’m sure there will be many flowers on this list which you are familiar with, and perhaps never realised that they were flowers you can eat! So many of our favourite garden flowers are edible. The well-known ones are nasturtiums, marigolds, violas and pansies. But there are so many more!
Change the way you think about using florals with food
I recently met Linda Brennan, from Ecobotanica, a wonderfully warm and interesting woman who has the most amazing organic garden, full of edible flowers. This quote taken from Linda Brennan’s book ” A Delicious Bunch” opens up some ideas of how we can change the way we think about using florals in and on our food.
Using flowers in food
The options are endless for garnishing food with flowers!
Try putting some nasturtium flowers in your next salad, and include some of the leaves for an extra peppery taste. The contrast in shape and texture of the leaf will add to the interesting visual effect. Or jazz up a pasta dish with some bright marigold or calendula petals and a couple of pink chive flowers. Violas and pentas florets are also so beautiful decorating desserts or cupcakes
See here how you can Garnish your drinks with edible flowers. Add little pink begonia flowers to some pink champagne. Or just plain water can be made so refreshing with little starlike borage flowers which have a cucumber taste. Floral ice cubes with little flowers suspended in the middle of the ice cube are becoming very popular. These are easy to do and so very effective in both cocktails, mocktails or any refreshing drink.
Your edible flower garden
My favourite common garden flower is the crucifix orchid (Epidendrum ibaguense), which is a pretty, intricate bloom that has a charm that you can’t ignore. I often use this to decorate a bowl of ice cream.
Did you know that roses, violets, zinnias, pentas, begonias, snapdragons, honeysuckle, daylilies, fuchsias, and even freesias are edible. And bouganvillea also! The list is incredibly extensive! I hope it inspires you to grow and use some of our most loved garden flowers in your kitchen. Here are some of the best edible flowers to grow in your garden.
Grow edible flowers in pots
If you don’t have a garden, here are some easy edible flowers to grow on your balcony or courtyard. Growing edible flowers in containers will give you a lovely garden feel in the space that you have. It’s also very satisfying popping out and picking a few blooms to decorate whatever you’re making.
I pick a small posy of flowers and sit them in my fridge during the summer to keep them fresh. This reminds me to use them every time I open the fridge! I love the extra colour that nasturtiums bring to a salad or cornflower petals to a bowl of yogurt.
Harvesting and storing edible flowers
Collecting and storing your edible flowers is easy. You just need to be gentle with them. Click here for your edible flower care guide.
Harvest the flowers in the morning, just after the dew has dried and before the hot sun has started to wilt them. Pick only the best blooms and avoid those that are going over or too damaged to look good. Smaller flowers are quite delicate so you will need to handle them carefully.
Some organic flower suppliers suggest that there isn’t a need to wash the flowers, as they have been grown organically and water can cause damage by making the petals stick together. Just brush off any little insect stowaways carefully with a paintbrush. Destalk the flowers and in some cases snip off the pistils and stamens if these are too bulky or bitter tasting. The flowers can then be kept in the fridge for a few days before they will start to deteriorate. The best scenario is to use them straight away if possible.
Which flowers are poisonous
As you would know, not all flowers are edible. Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) for example are beautiful in the vase but poisonous if eaten.
Click here for a list of some common poisonous flowers, and a description of the effects that can be caused by the toxins in the plant. This list is by no means exhaustive but highlights some of the most common poisonous flowers to eat which we commonly have around us.
It is really important that you do your own research into any flower before choosing to eat it or supplying it to other people. Some can be very toxic and so you will need to be aware of which flowers are safe to eat.
Only use organic edible flowers that have been grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals.
It’s important to only use flowers that you know have been grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals. For this reason it’s a great solution if you are able to grow them yourself. If you can’t grow the edible flowers yourself, there are an increasing number of organic edible flower farmers that grow blooms specifically for the plate and many take online orders. More and more specialty retail outlets are also stocking flowers you can eat.
It’s not a good idea to use flowers sold at supermarkets or general florists, as these blooms have been grown for the vase not the plate. Most will have been grown using chemicals that you don’t want in your body. Also be careful picking flowers from roadsides that are exposed to vehicle fumes as they could be contaminated with toxic substances.
Where can you buy edible flowers?
Check out this list of where to buy the best edible flowers in Australia.
Ask at your local independently owned fruit and veg store as they often have contacts with local producers. Many farmers markets also supply edible flowers if there is a local grower. I’ve also found that Instagram is also a great place to find growers and suppliers, try searching #edibleflowers
What do edible flowers taste like?
When using a chosen flower be aware of the taste that flower has. Many have a fairly bland or subtle flavour and so can be used in most dishes. Some have a distinct aromatic flavour and so would only enhance certain dishes.
Marigolds for instant are better paired in savoury dishes such as pastas, curries or fish dishes. Those lovely little pink chive flowers have a distinct oniony flavour and so also go well in savoury dishes where the flavour will give a subtly enhancement. Flowering herbs such as rosemary, and cilantro or coriander also have strong aromatic flavours. These are wonderful used in dishes where the flavours compliment or enhance the flavour of the dish. So before using do a quick taste test!
Here is a guide on what do edible flowers taste like.
With the trend of edible flowers being used more widely in and on our food, it’s important to be aware which are toxic flowers and so should not be eaten. We have many beautiful poisonous flowers growing in our gardens. They look beautiful in the garden and in the vase, but if ingested they can cause sickness and sometimes in extreme cases, fatality.
Due to the increasing popularity of using edible flowers, there are organic flower farms that are specifically growing flowers you can eat. As its not always possible to grow your own edible flowers, you’re probably asking where can I buy edible flowers? Read on to find some edible flower growers and retail outlets for your edible flower requirements.
Nasturtiums are possibly the most widely known edible flowers. They have wildly vibrant coloured flowers that I find irresistible whether I’m painting, cooking or flower crafting. These wonderful plants come in so many different varieties and have an incredible array of sunset colours which are so inspiring.