How to Use Edible Flowers!

edible flower salad

How to Use Edible Flowers! Edible flowers are a lovely way to brighten up your spring and summer dishes. Learn all about sourcing and using edible flowers in salads and more.

Springtime salad made with edible blossoms

edible flowers are the perfect colorful garnish!

Once you realize how many common flowers are actually edible, you’ll have great fun using them to add a splash of unique color to your meals.

recipes using edible flowers

Overhead photo of edible flowers on a white plate on a brick surface.

there are well over 50 common flowers that are edible!

It turns out that there are a lot more edible flowers than the few you probably already know about, (see the list at the end of the post.) I’ve occasionally seen nasturtiums in salads, and violets and rose petals on cupcakes, but did you know that you can also eat geraniums, impatiens, fuchsias, and peonies? I had no idea. But it really shouldn’t come as such a surprise, I mean, why should the edible parts of plants be limited to just the leaves, berries, seeds and fruits?

Overhead photo of edible flowers laid out on a white surface.

how to find edible flowers

You can use clean flowers right from your own garden, just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. If you have to you can gently wash your blossoms, and then dry them on a paper towel. Pick them as close to when you want to use them as possible, or store them on top of a damp paper towel in a plastic or glass container in the refrigerator.

Close up photo of edible flowers laid out on a white surface.

You can also find packages of edible flowers in better grocery stores, usually during the spring and summer. Look for them with the packaged herbs.

Close up photo of white, yellow, and orange edible flowers.

which edible flowers are best to use for garnishing food

I like to use small flowers like pansies, and violets. These dianthus are a small member of the carnation family. All carnations are edible, but these are really common, come in tons of colors and stripes, and are a perfect small size for garnishing food. You can also use the petals of larger flowers, like marigolds.

close up photo of purple and pink edible flowers.

do edible flowers actually taste good?

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree, I have no interest in chowing down on a big bowl of hollyhocks, but think of the more subtle possibilities…scatter a few crimson geraniums across your next salad, top a bowl of carrot soup with a bright yellow nasturtium, or decorate a cheese plate with violets or pansies. You, or someone you know, probably has a lot of these flowers right in their backyard, and if you don’t have a yard you can plant a container with a variety of edible flowers and clip them as needed all season long. I was shocked that even now, in mid summer, there are lots of in season edible blossoms.

Overhead photo of edible flower salad on a white plate on a wood surface.

try scattering a few blossoms on your next salad

I made a simple salad, and what goes into it is up to you. I started with a base of watercress, and then layered on some pea shoots, fresh raw peas, tiny cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, a few sprigs of dill, and then my blossoms. If you are going to decorate a salad with flowers, toss the salad with the dressing before you scatter on the flowers so they will stay fresh looking. You can use the whole flowers or just the loose petals. Marigold petals are great for scattering.

Closeup photo of edible flower salad.

I used deep red, shocking pink, and variegated purple geraniums, golden nasturtiums, bright yellow and russet marigolds, coral impatiens, and white dianthus. For my dressing I whisked together sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a grating of fresh ginger.

Photo of flowers in a planter.

I’m not going to claim that edible flowers are the most wildly delicious things in the world, but they’re pleasant. Some have a citrusy taste, others are mildly spicy. But for me the biggest reason to use them is that they are so colorful and pretty, and they add an element of excitement to food.

* Here’s a partial list of common edible flowers:

Apple blossomsBachelor buttonBee balmBorage
CalendulaCarnationsChamomileChive flowers
ChrysanthemumsCloverDandelionDay Lily
HoneysuckleImpatiensJasmineJohnny Jump-Ups
LavenderLemon verbenaLilacMarigold
MintNasturtiumPansyPeach blossoms
Pear blossomsPeonyRosesSage
Shasta DaisiesSquash blossomsSunflowersViolets

More information: National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Check out Part Two of How to Eat Flowers! HERE

Don’t forget to pin!

Edible flowers pin

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I just found you on Pinterest and I love this article on edible flowers ?, I don’t think I realised there were so many.
    I’m going to have a little snoop through your other articles.
    Thank you, Naomi

  • Reply
    April 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    What a fabulous article. I love edible flowers! You have some wonderful suggestions. I stumbled upon your site in search of foods that would go with a new organic non-alcohol martini called Altar( If you have any ideas on snacks or flowers that would go well with great alternative drink it would be well appreciated. Thank you!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 12:39 am

    my very own webpage is as well spending a good monthly bills http://[email protected]

  • Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    It is always better to try the 100% organic certified edible roses, Nevado Roses Recomended to Chef Luigi Taglienti about the edible certified roses, please check the link…..
    or contact me [email protected] this farm is produciong produtcs with organic ediblr roses, susch as; vinegar, mermelade, chocolates, tea, etc.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Love this post! Thanks so much for compiling a list of edible flowers. The pictures are beautiful.

  • Reply
    July 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    That first picture of your plate of flowers is wonderful. I love flowers (who doesn’t) in the wild, in gardens, in vases and in food. You’ve got an amazing array though. Nasturtiums, roses, violets, pansies, borage, lavender, rocket and chives are all I’ve used and these only occasionally. Lovely post and good to find out I can eat the fushia and geranium flowers from our garden too.

  • Reply
    July 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    This is so so beautiful. Look at all those varieties and colors! I’d love to use more edible flowers in my cooking. Looks like you have an abundance where you are! Looking forward to part II!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I find that my nasturtiums always have tiny black bugs in them even after washing so I’ve given up on using those flowers for edibles… 🙁

  • Reply
    A Trifle Rushed
    July 18, 2012 at 5:55 am

    What a great post Sue, like you I use edible flowers particulary to brighten up a salad or enhance the decoration on a cake. They just ghave such visual impact.

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    July 18, 2012 at 2:25 am

    What a fragrant salad! Thanks for the list! I can’t wait to try some of these!

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