For many people in the U.S., the main relationship between flowers and food is ornamental. While it's common to have flowers on a table for their beauty, it is less common that they are on the plate as a part of the meal. But as people look for healthier and more natural ways of eating, the presence of flowers as an ingredient or a source of food has become more common. For people who have never eaten or cooked with flowers before, it is important to proceed cautiously, as not all types of flowers are edible. In order to learn what flowers are safe for human consumption, it is important that people research and look for reliable edible flower recipes that can help guide them. Eating flowers that are not edible can cause illness or even death.
Although eating flowers and using them in the preparation of a dish may seem unfamiliar when it comes to American cooking, it shouldn't be mistaken as something that is new or a "trend." People across the globe have taken advantage of edible flowers throughout history. From confections to various types of drinks, flowers are still used by chefs and cooks for their beauty and their unique and diverse flavors. Dishes that are adorned or made with flowers can be found in fine dining establishments or as standard fare depending on the country.
Before trying out a new flower recipe, it is critical that the right flowers are selected and that the selection process is done safely. It is important to properly identify which flowers are safe and which flowers are not, as some may even be similar in appearance. It is also important that people never attempt to judge a flower's safety by taste, as this is not a safe or accurate indicator. A person should never pick flowers from the side of the road or from locations that are unfamiliar to them. These flowers, even if technically edible, may not be safe, as they may be sprayed by pesticides or have other unsafe or toxic material on them. The same holds true for flowers that are normally edible but are sold by florists. The best way for people to ensure the safety of the flowers that they eat is to plant an edible flower garden themselves. Even then, flowers must be properly cleaned before use and eaten in small quantities to avoid an upset stomach.
Read about different types of edible flowers.
Common names, botanical names, facts about and uses for flowers that are edible are listed i n this PDF.
The website for Better Homes & Gardens features a very short list of some of the more common flowers that can be safely eaten. The article also briefly discusses where people should and should not get these flowers.
Readers can learn how to safely incorporate flowers into their cooking in this PDF. The document discusses precautions that should be taken when a person decides to purchase or grow these types of flowers and also talks about how to prepare and then use them correctly.
Th e American Violet Society discusses the many uses for violets and pansies as well as the health benefits of violets.
This article discusses the health benefits of certain edible flowers, such as calendula, rose hips, and pansy petals, for example.
The University of Maryland Medical Center details the health benefits of eating dandelions. Dandelions are a common edible flower, and this page reviews the parts that can be consumed in addition to the flower itself .
The Montreal Botanical Garden reviews how to pick flowers that are safe to eat. The page also discusses what to avoid, such as flowers that have been treated with pesticides. Readers will also learn about cleaning and preserving the flowers after they are picked.
T he National Gardening Association reviews the benefits of having edible flowers in the garden and what to know about flowers before picking them to eat. Readers will also find sections for edible annual, perennial, tree, and shrub flowers.
Tips for growing, harvesting and using edible flowers are featured in this PDF from the University of Alaska.
Thirty minutes of prep time and one to two days to dry is all it takes to create these candied flowers. This Taste of Home recipe suggests rose petals, pansies, or edible orchids.
PBS offers this recipe for Pacific Rockfish prepared with nasturtium flowers. The recipe includes three basic ingredients.
Two pages of recipes include safe-to-eat flowers in the ingredient list. Examples of the recipes found in this PDF include a blueberry lavender cranberry crisp, flower-scented sugar, and stuffed na s turtiums.
Readers searching for a cookbook of edible flowers can find a PDF cookbook here . The cookbook is from the Garden Club of Virginia and includes recipes such as flower jelly, flower butter and lavender pound cake with lemon butter sauce.
Fresh flowers are used when making these cupcakes by Martha Stewart. The recipe makes a bout 35 cupcakes.
Twelve calundula blossoms are the featured flower in this edible flower recipe that is found on the Epicurious website.
Ground elder omelet, flower-strewn midsummer salmon, and a tomato and lavender tart are recipes featured on t his page .
T hese cookies take a total of an hour and 40 minutes to make.
Readers looking for a unique cake recipe will find this flowerpot cake of interest. Resembling a flowerpot, this chocolate cake uses edible flowers and mint sprigs.
This festive, single-layer cake uses assorted edible petals in both the cake and the frosting.
The edible flower recipes on this page are for grilled salmon, salad, biscuit s , and lemonade. Each of the recipes uses flowers that can safely be consumed.
Yankee Magazine features this recipe that lists nasturtiums in the ingredients. The completed recipe serves four.
Browse th is slide show on the Sunset magazine website to view recipes using flowers in the ingredients.
An informational page discusses edible flowers on the Good Housekeeping website. Near the bottom of the page are recipes for an angel food cake with sour cream glaze, egg salad c r ostini, and a tatsoi-mach salad. All of the recipes use flowers. The page also includes cleaning and storing information, a list of flowers that are safe to consume, and a brief description of the taste and how they are used.
Written By Ava Rose.