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Learn the art of adding flowers to your meals! logo
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Beauty and the Feast:
Edible Flowers

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Image: Nasturtium Spring is a time for rejuvenation. This is most evident as once dormant vegetation blossoms to life, providing a vibrant feast for all senses. Savvy cooks know that nature's spring bouquet can also add color and a surprising twist to everyday meals.

Marrying flowers with foods may seem to be a hip new trend, but it's actually a tradition that dates back centuries. In the Orient, the Daylily served its purpose as more than a decoration, and in the early days of Rome, violets adorned period foods. Not surprisingly, the floral taste of rose petals was especially popular during the Victorian era.

Do all flowers taste like perfume? Not necessarily. Roses do have a very floral, perfume like taste; however, other varieties better complement the tastes to which we have grown accustomed. For instance, lilies and lilac tend to be sweet, sugary, where firewood is more spicy, peppery. Lavender has an herbal flavor while hibiscus has a tart, citrus taste. A list of edible flowers along with descriptions of their flavors can be found at

When creating meals, cooks are usually encouraged to experiment with different foods to create a magical combination of flavors and textures. Flowers can add a burst of color to your foods, but it's especially important to be aware of the exact type of flower you're using, as many flowers are very poisonous. The Garden Helper provides a comprehensive list of edible flowers (there are a few dozen). They also provide tips for using the flowers in foods.


Quick Find:

Looking for a special place to take Mom this Mother's Day? Here are some resources!

About Edible Flowers
Burpee Seeds
Cook's Thesaurus
Edible Flowers
Edible Flowers Links
Flower Recipes
Garden Helper
Gardening Forum
Ten Rules
Purdue's News
Ben-Israel Cakes
UK Gardening

• As a food, flowers are highly perishable, so be sure to use them within a few hours of picking.

• Only eat organically grown flowers or those treated with organic pesticides (such as the ones used on fruits and vegetables)

• Never eat flowers picked from the side of the road as they may contain harmful toxins from exhaust fumes.

• Remove pistils and stamens before eating.

• Carefully inspect flowers for disease or insect damage.

• Clean thoroughly in warm water and dip in ice water to restore their shape and crispness.

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