Using Edible Flowers in Cooking

Edible flowers

Edible flowers can add a surprising spicy note to food. They certainly add visual interest!

Edibles are versatile, too. Use them in cooking, salads, as garnishes, frozen into cubes and when candied to decorate cakes and pastries will elicit “oooohs” and “aaaahs” from your guests!

What flowers are edible?

There are many edible flowers, but let’s focus on varieties that are common and readily available.

Violets self-seed and are prolific bloomers. Odorata varieties were sold in nosegays during Victorian times because of their sweet perfume.

A long-time cottage garden favorite, violets are often employed — crystallized in sugar, or “candied”, as charming garnishes on cakes and pastries.

As the blossoms are smaller, they add great visual interest when frozen into ice cubes to garnish summer drinks, or sprinkled on a fresh salad. “Odorata” varieties also have a captivating scent.

Pot Marigolds
Pot Marigolds, or calendula, not only have culinary applications, but have long been used for medicinal purposes.
Used in salads, scrambled eggs, quiche and even compound butter (mixed with herbs).

Not only are roses beautiful, often with a heady perfume, but they are surprisingly versatile in cooking. In Persian cuisine, rose petals are used both fresh and dried and the buds are also utilized. Rose hip tea is very high in Vitamin C and the perfect treat on a cold winter’s day!

Squash Blossoms
Squash blossoms are delicate and aren’t always easy to find in the supermarket–but when you can find some, grab them! Roam your local farmers market in spring with an eye out for the stunning yellow color. Stuffed with mild goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, they bring a freshness and beauty to the plate that is hard to beat.
Blossoms may also be used in pasta, on flatbreads and even sauteed.

Borage has been employed as a culinary and medicinal plant since Roman times and is a magnet for bees. (Pollinators need our help!) It is also a very attractive garden plant and self-seeds once established.