Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are a great way to add some color to your garden, while brightening up salads and other dishes.  Here is a partial list:

Many flowers of herbs are edible and can be used instead of or in combination with the leaves.  These include Chamomile, Oregano, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, and Thyme.

Many fruit tree blossoms are also edible, including peaches, pears, citrus, (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and kumquat) and apples (CAUTION: Eat apple blossoms in moderation as the flowers may contain cyanide precursors. The seeds of the apple fruit and their wild relations are poisonous).

Alliums  (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives) – Known as the “Flowering Onions.” There are approximately four hundred species that includes onion, garlic, chives, ramps, and shallots. All members of this genus are edible. Their flavors range from mild onions and leeks right through to strong onion and garlic. All parts of the plants are edible. The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves and the young developing seed-heads are even stronger. We eat the leaves and flowers mainly in salads. The leaves can also be cooked as a flavoring with other vegetables in soups, etc.

Chive Blossoms – Use whenever a light onion flavor and aroma is desired. Separate the florets and enjoy the mild, onion flavor in a variety of dishes.

Garlic Blossoms – The flowers can be white or pink, and the stems are flat instead of round. The flavor has a garlicky zing that brings out the flavor of your favorite food. Milder than the garlic bulb.

Angelica – Depending on the variety, flower range from pale lavender-blue to deep rose.  It has a flavor similar to licorice. Angelica is valued culinary from the seeds and stems, which are candied and used in liqueurs, to the young leaves and shoots, which can be added to a green salad. Good with fish. Young leaves can be made into a tea.

Anise Hyssop – Both flowers and leaves have a delicate anise or licorice flavor. Some people say the flavor reminds them of root beer. Often used in Chinese-style dishes

Arugula – Also called garden rocket, roquette, rocket-salad, Oruga, Rocketsalad, rocket-gentle; Raukenkohl (German); rouquelle (French); rucola (Italian). An Italian green usually appreciated raw in salads or on sandwiches. The flowers are small, white with dark centers and can be used in the salad for a light flavor. The flowers taste very similar to the leaves and range in color from white to yellowish with dark purple veins.  Arugula resembles radish leaves in both appearance and taste. Leaves are compound and have a spicy, peppery flavor that starts mild in young leaves and intensifies as they mature.

Borage – Has fiery blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms have a cool, cucumber taste. Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.

Calendula – Also called Marigolds. A wonderful edible flower. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron.

Carnations – Steep in wine, candy, or use as cake decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower.

Chervil – Chervil flowers are delicate white flowers with an anise flavor. Should be added at the end of cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state.

Chrysanthemums – Tangy, slightly bitter, ranging in colors from red, white, yellow and orange. They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. They should be blanched first and then scatter the petals on a salad. The leaves can also be used to flavor vinegar. Always remove the bitter flower base and use petals only.

Clover – Sweet, anise-like, licorice.

Bachelor’s Button – They have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor.

Dame’s Rocket – Also called Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet. Deep lavender and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads.

Dandelions – Member of Daisy family. Flowers are sweetest when picked young, and just before eating. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Good raw or steamed. Also made into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. When serving a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.

Day Lilies – Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Chewable consistency. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors. To use the sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. In the spring, gather shoots two or three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus.
CAUTION: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation

Elderberry – The blossoms are a creamy color and have a sweet scent and sweet taste. When harvesting elderberry flowers, do not wash them as that removes much of the fragrance and flavor. Instead check them carefully for insects. The fruit is used to make wine.
NOTE: All other parts of this plant, except the berries, are mildly toxic! They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide. Eating uncooked berries may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Fuchsia – Blooms have a slightly acidic flavor. Explosive colors and graceful shape make it ideal as garnish. The berries are also edible.

Gladiolus – Flowers (anthers removed) have a little flavor but make nice cups for spreads, dips, and mousses. Toss individual petals in salads.

Hibiscus – Cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones. Good in salads or as a garnish.

Hollyhock – Very bland, but adds nice color.

Honeysuckle – Sweet honey flavor.
CAUTION: Only the flowers are edible – berries are highly poisonous.

Jasmine – The flowers are intensely fragrant and are traditionally used for scenting tea.

Lemon Verbena – Tiny cream-colored citrus-scented blossoms. Leaves and flowers steeped as an herb tea, and used to flavor custards and flans.

Lilac – The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant. Very perfumy, slightly bitter. Has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones. Great in salads.

Linden – Small flowers, white to yellow are fragrant and have a honey-like flavor.
CAUTION: Frequent consumption of linden flower tea can cause heart damage

Mustard – Young leaves can be steamed, used as a herb, eaten raw, or cooked like spinach.
CAUTION: Some people are highly allergic to mustard. Start with a small amount.

Nasturtiums – Come in varieties ranging from trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors with peppery flavors. Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress.

Pansy – Pansies have a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor. If you eat only the petals, the flavor is extremely mild, but if you eat the whole flower, there is a winter, green overtone.

Peony – Add petals to salads or float in punch.

Primrose – Colorful with a sweet, but bland taste.

Queen Anne’s Lace – Also known as Wild Carrot and Bishop’s Lace. It is the original carrot, from which modern cultivars were developed, and it is edible with a light carrot flavor. The flowers are small and white, and bloom in a lacy, flat-topped cluster. Great in salads.
CAUTION: This plant is closely related to, and looks almost exactly like Wild or Poison Hemlock, which often grows in similar habitats, and is said to be the most poisonous plant native to the United States. Queen Anne’s Lace has a hairy stem, while the stems of Wild Hemlock are smooth and hairless and hollow with purple spots.

Radish Flowers – Depending on the variety, flowers may be pink, white or yellow, and will have a distinctive, spicy bite (radish flavor). Best in salads.

Roses – All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. In miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. Freeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads.

NOTE: Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals

Scarlet Runner Beans – Bean pods toughen as they age, so make use of young pods as well as flowers. Please note: Sweet Pea flowers are not edible.

Scented Geraniums – The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers. They come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and pastels. Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice cubes. NOTE: Citronelle variety may not be edible.

Squash Blossoms – Squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible and taste mildly of raw squash. Delicious when fried.

Sunflower – The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavor is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes.

Sweet Woodruff – The flower flavor is sweet and grassy with a hint of nutty, vanilla flavor.
CAUTION: Can have a blood thinning effect if eaten in large amounts

Tulip Petals – Flavor varies from tulip to tulip, but generally the petals taste like sweet lettuce, fresh baby peas, or a cucumber-like texture and flavor.
CAUTION: Some people have had strong allergic reactions to them. If touching them causes a rash, numbness etc. don’t eat them. Don’t eat the bulbs ever.

Violets – Sweet, perfumed flavor. Tender leaves and flowers good in salads. Great for frosted cakes, sorbets, or any other desserts, and they may be crystallized as well. Heart-shaped leaves are edible, and tasty when cooked like spinach.

Yucca Petals – The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste.

Source: http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm