Grower's Guide: Edible Flowers

Buds and petals that you can eat, also information on how each flower can be used as ingredients in recipes, also warns of the dangers of eating certain plants.

Flowers are delightful. We smell their wonderful fragrances. We see their beauty and are delighted by the marvelous array of varieties. We see flowers as decoration in festive and sacred events.

Tasting flowers is much less known. Using flowers for food is growing in popularity. There needs to be caution in using flowers for food. Some are edible and some are definitely not. Finding out if a flower is edible is very important. If you are not sure, assume that it is not edible. Find the Latin name of the flower and then look in reference books to learn about it. If you can't find the flower in a reference book, call a poison control center. It's better to be safe than sorry. Inedible flowers can make you very sick if consumed. Blooms must also be free of pesticides and herbicides. If a flower meets all the right criteria, you have a fun, new, and tasty treat.

Make sure when you pick flowers that you look for and get rid of bugs. Sometimes they don't show up right at first. Look carefully for little unwanted pests. Pick edible flowers in the morning for the best success. You want to pick right after the dew has dried. Picking them in the evening right before the sun goes down would be your next best choice.

For the best taste and for them to look the most appetizing, pick and eat flowers and blossoms the same day. If you do plan to store them, put in an airtight container. Make sure they are not packed tightly or they will lose their delicate look. It is best if you put a napkin or paper towel at the bottom to absorb the extra moisture.

Flowers need to be added to food at the end of preparation. After you toss a salad, you can sprinkle a few petals or blossoms on it. If using in soups, wait until the soup bowls are filled, then add.

Try chopping some squash blossoms, adding them to vegetables or casseroles. Rose petals are a tasty treat when used with fresh fruit. Daylily buds have a beanie taste that can be added to an Oriental dish. Peas taste delicious and look beautiful with wild violets as a garnish.

Here are some of the favorites in edible flowers: Apple Blossoms have a delicate floral taste. English Lavender has a sweet lemony yet floral taste and works well in cooking. Some types of Lavender taste like medicine be careful about the variety. Squash Blossoms are the most well known for eating. They taste like squash but with a much milder flavor. Zucchini squash and pumpkin blossoms are really big. Some people like to stuff them with other foods such as rice or a meat dish. Violas and Pansies have a light floral taste. All of the herb flowers are edible. Fennel has a distinct flavor. You'll have to try different blossoms and petals to find your favorites.

Pleasing to the eye, and delicious to the taste, edible flowers are a delight! Eat to your heart's content!

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