Disclaimer: This information does not take the place of professional medical advice. Different people have various levels of tolerance to flowers. Not all flowers are edible. Do not use pesticides or chemicals on flowers you intend to eat or cook with. Please refer to the AAFA to learn more and contact your doctor or health care provider.
Flowers and dinner are a classic duet, but did you know they could be two of the same? The greatest collab might be right under your nose the flowers from your flower arrangement are in fact edible! While not all flower petals are meant for consumption, a few of the edible flowers in our Bouqs can help you put those finishing touches on a great meal.
Ways to Cook with Edible Flowers
Cooking with flowers is much more common than most people perceive. Not only are flowers a common garnish on top of a wonderful meal, but they can also be grounded and mixed into the recipe in order to give it a more elegant and sweet flavor.
Many recipes that include edible flowers are typically syrups, oils, honey, vinegar, baked goods, and salads. However, they can also include everything from tacos to casseroles.
While using actual flowers from your garden for a garden salad may sound crazy, it is much more common than you might realize. Edible flowers can offer nutritional value when it comes to cooking as well. For example, gardenias, and honeysuckles can enhance brain activity and keep your mind sharp through aging. The petals of peonies and roses contain phenols, which help ease muscle pain and enhance workout recovery. Flowers have long been popular for brewing tea.
Placing flowers as beautiful finishing garnishes to your dish will also help add a pop of color or up the sophistication value of your cocktail, dinner, or dessert. Edible flowers work great as decorations.
Perhaps the most well-known use of edible flowers is their use in salads. They add a flash of color to the salad and their different flavors can be used to sweeten or spice up a salad however you want.
What Flowers Are Edible?
One of the top reasons why people miss out on cooking with flowers is because they don’t know how to sort through which ones are edible and which ones are not. At The Bouqs Co., we offer a great selection of beautiful flowers to choose from for a breathtaking Bouq in your own home. These flowers can be repurposed and added to any dish or drink that needs a touch of flavor or a dash of color.
|Name||Botanical Name||Flavor and Use|
|Apple Blossoms||Malus domestica||Apple blossoms have a light, floral flavor with both sweet and sour undertones, just like apples! They can be candied like rose petals or used to garnish fruit or citrus dishes.|
|Basil||Ocimum basilicum||Basil is found on most spice racks. But it’s also a flowering plant and the flowers are edible. Thai basil is often harvested once it’s fully flowered. The whole flower is edible and carries the distinct savory flavor reminiscent of anise and mint with a touch of pepper.|
|Bee Balm||Monarda fistulosa||Bee balm has pretty, round flowers. It tastes similar to oregano and sage together and it is most often included in savory dishes such as salads, vegetable dishes, and herbal butters. It can also be included in herbal tea recipes.|
|Borage||Borago officinalis||Borage comes in a beautiful form, blue blooms in a star-like pattern. This shape gives it the nickname starflower. It taste sweet with a honey-like zest. It’s great as a garnish on drinks. It’s often an ingredient in desserts or treats.|
|Camellia||Camellia||Camellias have beautiful, delicate blooms and come in hundreds of species with thousands of hybrids. The flowers are edible while the leaves are a long-standing ingredient in teas.|
|Carnation||Dianthus caryophyllus||Carrie Bradshaw is not a fan of receiving carnations, but the foodie in her might have enjoyed the spiciness their petals offer. They have a flavor that is almost peppery and similar to cloves. Did you know miniature carnations were used as flavoring for French liqueur Chartreuse?|
|Chamomile||Matricaria chamomilla||Chamomile is most commonly used in teas. Its subtle apple-ish flavor complements other flavors, like mint or citrus. While known in teas, it can also be used in desserts like custards. The petals can also be used in candied form or as dessert ornament.|
|Cherry Blossom||Prunus Cerasus||Called sakura in Japan, cherry blossoms have a long history of use in Japanese culture including edible blooms. The Japanese have pickled them in salt and used them as a confectionary.|
|Chives||Allium schoenoprasum||Chives are a well-known herb with a distinct and popular onion-like flavor. Common chives produce purple flowers and can be used in salads, as garnishes, or to add savory flavor to other dishes. Chinese chives have an even more pronounced garlic-like flavor.|
|Chrysanthemum||Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum||Chrysanthemum has a taste that resembles chamomile. It can be used in teas and desserts. It’s also mixed into stir-fry recipes, chop suey, and other traditional Asian dishes.|
|Cilantro||Coriandrum sativum||Also known as coriander, cilantro is a very common flowering herb. It has a unique flavor reminiscent of citrus and parsley. It’s used as a spice and as a garnish in many dishes.|
|Coltsfoot||Tussilago farfara||Coltsfoot has many edible uses. Toss it into a salad to brighten it up, use it to make an aromatic herbal tea, or mix the flowers with honey and use it as a natural cough remedy.|
|Cornflowers||Centaurea cyanus||Their blooms don’t look like popcorn. These beautiful purplish-blue blossoms have an intriguing flavor profile. They mix a touch of sweetness with a clove-like spicy flavor. They are also a popular food dye with their beautiful bluish-purple color.|
|Cucumber||Cucumis sativus||Cucumber blooms can be used to add a little nutrition with flair to your salad. You can eat them raw or stir fry them. The flower is a pretty yellow color and has a cucumber-floral flavor.|
|Dahlia||Dahlia pinnata||Known for their beauty, dahlia flowers are also edible. The celery-like tubers offer additional benefits. The tubers contain potassium, vitamin B, and riboflavin but the flowers make an attractive garnish or colorful addition to dishes. The flowers make a great edible adornment for cakes.|
|Daisy||Bellis perennis||This colorful flower’s petals can be added to the recipe of any dish to offer a sweet perfume taste.|
|Dame’s Rocket||Hesperis matronalis||Dame’s Rocket has eye-catching purple flowers that make an excellent addition for color to salads and other dishes. Their flavor is mild and rather bland so it’s best included as a complementary ingredient. It’s best consumed in small doses as it large amounts might cause nausea.|
|Dandelion||Taraxacum||Dandelions are considered a flowering herb. Commonly used in salads, they have a distinctly earthy and nutty flavor with hints of bitterness. Their flavor can balance other sweet ingredients in recipes.|
|Daylily||Hemerocallis||Despite its name, the day lily is not a member of the family we think of as common lilies (lilium). It has attractive orange blooms and its flavor is grassy and similar to peas.|
|Dill||Anethum graveolens||Dill grows with small clusters of yellow flowers. It’s been cultivated for cooking and herbal use for thousands of years across Eurasia. The flowers are more pungent and flavorful than the leaves. Dill has been used in ayurvedic medicine, as an oil, and as a spice often coupled with fish.|
|Echinacea||Echinacea purpurea||Echinacea has a pretty, usually purple, flower in the wild. Its petals have been used traditionally in teas and herbal remedies. It also goes by the name purple coneflower and is cultivated around the world for its herbal benefits.|
|Fennel||Foeniculum vulgare||All parts of the fennel plant are edible which includes the stalk, bulb, and fronds. Fennel is commonly used in cooking. Usually, recipes use the bulbs which have a celery-like texture and an almost licorice-like flavor.|
|Garden Pea||Pisum sativum||The common garden pea’s well-known pods grow with white flowers. Pea flowers can be included in anything made with peas. The flowers also carry a grassy, herbal flavor. *Warning:* Do not confuse the common pea with sweet peas (lathyrus odoratus). Sweet peas are poisonous.|
|Gardenia||Gardenia jasminoides||Gardenia can be eaten raw, boiled, pickled, or preserved in honey. They can be used in tea like jasmine, with a similar flavor profile. They also have been used as a food dye for their yellow coloring.|
|Hibiscus||Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis||Its flavor is tart and very cranberry-ish. It’s a tropical flower and its blossoms are bright and beautiful. It’s often used in teas but can play a role in desserts, as a candied treat, a dried garnish, and an ingredient in cakes.|
|Honeysuckle||Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis||The flowers, unsurprisingly have a honey-like flavor. Honeysuckle nicely complements soups, salads, desserts, and drinks. *Warning*: ONLY eat the flowers. Do not eat the berries, which are poisonous. It also produces a pleasant aroma.|
|Hops||Humulus lupulus||Hops are famous for their role in brewing beer. They are also a flowering plant. They provide a bittering balance to the sweetness of the yeast in beer. Beer isn’t their only use, however. Custards and sauces often incorporate hops for stabilizing flavor profiles.|
|Lavender||Lavandula||Lavender is in the mint family and has a sweet floral flavor. It’s also used in a wide range of recipes from gourmet entrees to dessert. It gives off a pleasant aroma which adds to its appeal for cooking.|
|Lilac||Syringa||Often used in salads, lilac carries a lemony sometimes slightly bitter flavor. It’s also a pungent flower. It can also be used in syrups, beverages, and even beer.|
|Mallow||Malva||Malva includes over 25 varieties of beautiful flowers. But that floral elegance doesn’t translate into culinary bliss. Mallow has a mild, earthy flavor that is usually sauteed. Historically, it’s also been used as an ingredient in love potions!|
|Marigold||Calendula officinalis||An herb and also traditionally a remedy for strengthening the immune system. Marigold comes in beautiful yellow, orange, and golden colors. Often used as a garnish or a decorative addition to dishes to add a pop of color.|
|Mint||Mentha||Everyone knows mint’s distinct, sweet flavor. It’s the basis of everything from gourmet recipes to candy canes. The distinct flavor comes from the leaves but the flowers are also edible and make an excellent garnish for all occasions.|
|Nasturtium||Tropaeolum||Add some nasturtium blooms to add a pop of color and a bite in flavor. They have a spicy, peppery flavor that makes a good addition to a range of dishes. But if you’re cooking with it, make sure to add it at the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t overcook.|
|Orchids||Orchidaceae||Orchids are typically used for the finishing touches as beautiful garnishes on any meal in need of a pop of color.|
|Oxlip||Primula elatior||Oxlip is a mild flavoring that can be used for soups when cooked or to pretty up salads when raw. It can be used in herbal teas or other mixtures.|
|Pansy||Viola tricolor var. hortensis||Pansy is the common name for hybrid flowers in the viola family. Popular because they come in a wide variety of bright colors, these edible flowers are|
|Peonies||Paeonia lactiflora||Peonies have the same medicinal value as roses and can help ease sore muscles.|
|Plum Blossom||Prunus mume||Plum blossoms are a favorite flower around the world. Their flavor is more complicated with hints of spice, sweetness, and floral tangs. Because of their beauty, these spring blooms can be used for floral confections and desserts of many varieties. They can be used to make frosting or sprinkled on top of puddings.|
|Pumpkin flowers||Cucurbita pepo||Field pumpkins are not just for Halloween. They produce pretty flowers that can have a culinary purpose. They are commonly used in Asian cuisines such as Bengali dishes. Their flavor is mildly sweet with earthy undertones.|
|Purslane||Portulaca oleracea||Purslane is packed with nutrition. It contains a very high portion of vitamin A, C, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and calcium. It’s also high in antioxidants and omega-3s. It has a slightly sour, salty flavor akin to watercress or spinach.|
|Primrose||Primula vulgaris||Primrose flowers have a range of flavors that span from a mild salad lettuce taste to a more bitter flavor. The flowers can be used as garnishes or even mixed in with the leaves for tea.|
|Red clover||Trifolium pratense||Red clover has a long history as an edible flower and plant. It has a very floral taste when eaten raw but when cooked, it provides a vanilla-ish taste. A healthy flowering plant, it’s a gluten-free ingredient that has a nutritional profile akin to alfalfa sprouts. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C along with antioxidants, calcium, and potassium.|
|Rose||Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis||Flavors from roses will vary based on type, color, and soil conditions. While roses are also medicinal, their flower petals are a staple in many cocktails and dessert dishes.|
|Rosemary||Salvia rosmarinus||A common spice, rosemary is a flowering shrub native to Mediterranean regions. It has beautiful purple, pink, blue, or white flowers that carry a distinct fragrance. It has a lemony pine-like flavor that complements many dishes.|
|Sage||Artemisia ludoviciana or Salvia Mellifera||Sage is a common name for two different types of flowering shrubs. Artemisia is sagebrush and salvia mellifera is black sage. Both can be used as flavoring herbs when cooking. They both have a slightly peppery flavor and are suitable for teas.|
|Strawberry Blossoms||Fragaria ananassa (domestic) or Fragaria virginiana (wild)||Everyone knows how good the fruit tastes. But, surprise! Strawberry blossoms are also great to include in dishes. Farmed blossoms tend to be pink while wild strawberry blossoms are white. Just be careful where you get the blossoms from though as some farms like to douse them in chemicals.|
|Sunflowers||Helianthus||Sunflowers do produce the beloved sunflower seeds, but their stem can also be steamed and eaten like an artichoke. Not to be confused with a sunchoke!|
|Tansy||Tanacetum vulgarum||Tansy has a long, interesting history as an edible flower. It was used as an insect repellant and also common for Easter pudding. Its nutmeg-cinnamon-like flavor is best used as a flavoring and the flowers can be used in tea. *WARNING* Don’t eat tansy in large amounts, it may upset your tummy.|
|Tulip||Tulipa||You can nibble on some tulips with your own two lips! *WARNING*: Tulips can cause an allergic reaction. If you develop even minor allergic reactions do not eat the petals. Never eat the bulbs! When in doubt, avoid eating the flower.|
|Violet||Viola||The beautiful violet flower has a subtle flavor, slightly sweet. The refreshing taste evokes the flavor of springtime.|
Edible Flower Treats
- Ice cubes with flowers
- Spring rolls with flowers
- Popsicles with flowers
- Making a beautiful breakfast
- Custom jello dessert
How To Make Candied Flower Petals
Using edible flowers as a small enhancement to your dish can make all the difference. Using edible flowers as the main dish offers a sweet and unique way to use your flowers ordered from Bouqs.com. Candied flower petals are great to top any cupcake or pastry that needs that extra something.
Try this recipe from Une Deux Senses. We used roses for this recipe but you can also use borage, apple blossoms, or plenty of other types of edible flowers. Try to choose ones with a sweet or citrus flavor.
What you will need:
- 2 fresh roses
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 cup of superfine sugar (not powder sugar)
- Paper-lined baking sheet
- Pastry brush
- Carefully remove the rose petals from your pretty blooms. Choose only clean petals if you want them to look the most elegant. Make sure to inspect the petals for any little stowaways (you don’t want bugs in your treat!).
- Place the petals on the baking sheet.
- Take an egg and use only the egg white. Mix in one tablespoon of water. Whisk the mixture.
- Use your pastry brush and paint the egg mixture on the rose petals. Alternatively, you can dip the rose petals in the mixture.
- Sprinkle the sugar onto the mixture right away. You can cover both sides in the fine sugar
- Let the rose petals dry on the parchment paper and harden. You can leave them overnight to harden. You can store them in a clear jar so they look beautiful on your counter before you eat them. You enjoy their sweet flavor by themselves or to decorate or garnish dessert dishes.