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BONNIE’S GARDEN – Edible Flowers That Look Beautiful and Taste Great

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

One thing I get asked a lot is about edible flowers. I’m usually too busy growing, weeding, watering, and feeding mine to think about eating them—but I do have a few that I have been known to nibble from time to time. Some are used more as edible garnishes while others can be candied or stuffed and fried.

Flowers I Have Personally Taste Tested

I haven’t taste-tested all of the edible flowers, but I have eaten quite a few. The flowers I have eaten are:

  • Nasturtiums: Both the leaves and the bright-colored flowers are deliciously peppery. I toss them in salads.
  • Roses: Fragrant roses have the best flavor. Roses with little scent will have little to no flavor.
  • Violets: Cool, sweet flavor.
  • Squash blossoms: I’ve stuffed these with ricotta cheese and chives and fried them quickly on each side.
  • Chives blossoms: Take the puffy little lavender heads apart and sprinkle over a salad for a pretty accent and a mild oniony flavor.
  • Basil flowers: Have a milder version of whatever flavor the variety of basil is.
  • Tulips: Petals only—the center is bitter. Like with roses, the fragrant varieties have the best flavor.
  • Chamomile: A faintly apple-like flavor.  Used mostly for teas.

Other Edible Flowers

Other flowers that are edible (but that I haven’t eaten yet) are:

  • Bachelor Buttons: Mild oregano flavor.
  • Borage: Cool, mild cucumber flavor. I’m growing this herb this year as a companion plant so I expect I’ll be trying the flowers soon.
  • Broccoli: Mild broccoli flavor.
  • Calendula: Mildly spicy and peppery. The petals can also be boiled in water and used to dye eggs a bright yellow.
  • Dianthus (carnations): Remove the bitter-tasting base.
  • Marigold: Tangerine Gem and Lemon Gem have the best flavors.
  • Rosemary: Mild rosemary flavor.
  • Fennel: Mild licorice flavor.
  • Hibiscus: Sweet—used mostly for teas.
  • Sunflowers: Buds or petals.
  • Citrus blossoms: Cool sweet citrus flavor.
  • Lavender blooms: Have a very strong flavor so use them sparingly.

Not All Flowers Are Edible

There are many other flowers that are also edible. Do remember that not all flowers are edible and not all parts of a flower are tasty, so do your research. You do want to use organically grown flowers so as not to get a taste of pesticides or weed killers. Not yummy. Use caution if you have a strong allergic reaction to pollen.

Still, it’s fun to eat the occasional blossom. All you need to do is think outside the flower box.

Your Questions Answered by Garden Experts

Visit us at the Great Big Greenhouse if you have questions about which flowers—edible and otherwise—are ideal for your yard. We love flowers too so stop by and talk with our knowledgeable staff to get professional advice. That’s why we’re here!

To read more posts from Bonnie, visit our blog

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