Sometimes the best things in life are free. I’m talking about edible flowers, the ones that may very well be found growing in your yard right now. The use of edible flowers is an easy, tasty, and colorful way to enhance your meal and sneak additional vitamins and flavonoids into your diet.
The flowers in my salad, left, are Carnation (Dianthus) petals. They have a slightly bitter, spicy flavor and provide a lovely contrast to the pale green lettuce leaves.
This next salad is one that I had last summer in a darling little restaurant in the South of France. It took my breath away as the server placed it in front of me — I did not know whether to eat it or frame it. This salad brought edible art to a whole new level. And it was delicious!
Some of my favorite edible flowers include:
Also, as a general rule, the flowers of culinary herbs are usually edible. Some of these include basil, chives, coriander and garlic.
The four most important things to consider when choosing edible flowers are:
- Make sure they are edible. If you’re not sure, consult a book or website, preferably with photos.
- Use flowers that you know to be free of any toxic chemicals. Organic is the best option.
- Wash the petals thoroughly.
- Eat only small amounts. The petals should be considered a garnish rather than a main course.
For a great list of edible flowers and a list of safety do’s and don’t, check out this post on How to Choose Edible Flowers. Equally important, here is a list of non-edible flowers (including, but not limited to: azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley, and wisteria).
Your turn: Have you ever eaten flower petals? Did you enjoy them? What edible flowers grow in your corner of the world?