Edible Flowers Add Color to Your Meals

Edible FlowersSometimes 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!
Salad in Aix-en-provence

Some of my favorite edible flowers include:

  • Carnation
  • Nasturtium
  • Pansy
  • Rose
  • Violets
  • Violas

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:

  1. Make sure they are edible. If you’re not sure, consult a book or website, preferably with photos.
  2. Use flowers that you know to be free of any toxic chemicals. Organic is the best option.
  3. Wash the petals thoroughly.
  4. 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?

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7 Responses to Edible Flowers Add Color to Your Meals

  1. Nasturiums. And I just bought some seeds yesterday 🙂 I make carrot top soup from a French cooking from the garden book. After cooking and pureeing carrots and potatoes, I blanch the carrot tops and puree them with some of the carrot mixture. Served together they make a beautiful green/orange contrast. Carrot tops are not poisonous although they can be allergenic to some people. Have you heard of eating carrot tops?

  2. Avatar Kaizenvision
    Kaizenvision says:

    Oh I absolutely love this! I'm a salad fanatic and am always looking for new things to make my salads more adventurous. This is very exciting!!!!

  3. Willow, your carrot top soup sounds delicious, and what a pretty color it must be! I have added carrot tops to juices, but have never cooked with them.

    There is some back-and-forth debate about the safety of carrot tops (most sources say they're fine, but there is a lingering question), so I would err on the side of less rather than more in any given recipe.

  4. Kaizenvision, I love your enthusiasm! Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  5. Thanks! That's good advice. Is the lingering question one of toxicity or of allergy?

  6. Willow, it seems to be more a question of toxicity. For instance, the Minnesota Poison Control System states carrot greens “may be mildly toxic.” Here is the link: http://www.mnpoison.org/mnpoison/pdfs/PlantGuid

  7. Edible rose petals are available in the market and are bland at best. They are best served when mixed in with a mousse or other pastry.