Today, chefs use edible flowers in the strangest places, such as ice creams and sorbets, while soups and salads are more commonly seen. For home cooks, the best source of these delectable morsels is your own garden, ensuring the lack of pesticides and fertilizers that can render the petals inedible.
You will find amazing uses suggested here and we hope you enjoy the garden to table freshness that edible flowers provide.
Anise hyssop: Lilac-colored blossoms. Strong anise-licorice taste. Sweet and tasty. Flavor similar to root beer. Great in salads, sweet pastries, butter cookies and as a garnish. Leaves can be used to make tea.
Bachelor’s buttons: Blue blossoms with fuzzy silver-gray leaves. Bland taste.
Bergamot: Red, pink, white and violet flowers. Perfumy, tea-like taste. Goes nicely with peach desserts.
Borage: Large blue flowers. Cucumber-like flavor. Great in salads, dips, fruit compotes and candied for desserts. also known as anchusa.
Calendula: Yellow or gold flowers. Slightly green, tangy, peppery taste.. Nice with corn muffins.
Carnations: Pink, yellow, white or red flowers. Bland and sometimes bitter flavor.
Chives: Lavender flowers. Mild onion flavor.
Chrysanthemums: White, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple flowers. Each color has a different flavor, some strong and bitter.
Daisies: White with yellow centers. Mild flavor.
Dandelions: Yellow. Bitter flavor.
Day lilies: Many shades of orange and yellow. Slightly sweet, nut-like flavor. A cross between asparagus and zucchini. Interesting with pasta and mushrooms.
Dianthus: Red, pink or white flowers. Little flavor. Pink variety spicy, like cloves.
Geraniums (scented): Pink, red, white or purple flowers. Flavored leaves (rose, lemon, mint, apple and nutmeg). May be slightly sour or bitter. A nice addition to cake batter.
Herb flowers: Most popular are chives, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, onion, garlic, cilantro and sage. Recommended for salads, atop vegetables, and as a pizza topping.
Johnny jump-ups: Violet, mauve, yellow and white flowers. Light winter-green flavor. Great in salads and as garnish for pastry and desserts.
Lavender: Purplish flowers. Lemon flavor. Excellent in cream for desserts.
Lilacs: White, violet, blue, pink, white, yellow and magenta flowers. Light floral flavor. Can be slightly bitter.
Lovage: Yellow and white flowers. Mild celery flavor.
Marigolds: Yellow, orange and gold flowers. Mild peppery taste. Some varieties less intense and bitter. Others citrusy and milder. Goes well with mushroom salad.
Mustards: Bright yellow flowers. Hot, pungent mustard flavor. Great in salads.
Nasturtiums: Rainbow of colors. Piquant, like watercress. Great in salads, salsas, compound butters, vinaigrettes, grilled dishes and stuffed with guacamole.
Pansies: Blue, orange and purple flowers. Mild flavor. great as a garnish, in salads and for candying.
Rocket or Arugula: White with red and pink veins. Less piquant. Smoky, nutty flavor. Superb in spring salads.
Rose petals: White, yellow, orange, pink and red flowers. Sweet to bitter. Red flowers have a mineral flavor. Lighter colored varieties are more delicate in taste. Great in jams, sugars, vinegars, syrups, jellies and teas.
Safflower: Orange flowers. Slightly bitter in taste. Good in salads, cooked in rice or added to pasta as a garnish.
Squash: Orange and yellow flowers. Vegetable flavor with the mild taste of raw squash. Great for stuffing, frying or sauteing when whole. cut into julienne for pancakes, omelets, soups and salad.
Tulips: Wide variety of colors. Little flavor, slightly sweet or bitter.
Violets:Purple flowers. Mild taste (except viola odorata, which is sweet). Excellent for candying and as garnishes for desserts and tea sandwiches. Good in salads.