If you’re planning to eat flowers, the best time to pick them is early morning before they get too hot. Use them soon after picking for the best quality, but you can store edible flowers in the fridge for a couple of days in a plastic lidded container.
Prep them for eating by dipping them gently in water then shaking gently. Most flowers you need to remove the bitter parts and just leave the petals to eat.
Obviously, do check exactly what flowers you’re growing and picking if you want to eat them, and check if you’re not sure with someone more in the know if you’re not sure.
What you can use edible flowers for
Obviously you can use edible flowers for cakes and desserts, usually flowers are crystallised before using. But they also go well in salads, or as garnish for other dishes.
What flowers can you eat
Apple/ Crab Apple – a slghtly floral taste, good in salads.
Busy Lizzie – colourful addition when put in salads or if you float them in cold drinks for summer.
Carnation/ Pinks – most of this flower family have a lightly spicy, clove-like taste. They can be used to decorate or add to cakes, or as a garnish to soups, salads and drinks.
Chives – I have wild chives growing in my garden, and this year I’ve finally got round to making chive blossom vinegar to use in salad dressings. With a mild oniony flavour, they can be tossed into salads, pasta, scrambled eggs or anywhere else you’d use onions (the stems) or with the flowers by using as a garnish, breaking them into ‘florets’.
Cornflower – A sweet-to-spicy clove-like flavour. Mix them with other flowers to pretty up salads and pasta dishes.
Courgette – squash family flowers have a slightly sweet taste. Versatile flowers, they can be stuffed with cheeses and other fillings, battered and deep fried or sautéed. You can also slice them and add to soups, egg dishes or as a salad garnish.
Dahlia – All dahlias are edible providing a variety of flavours like hints of water chestnut, spicy apple or carrot. Flavour depends on the soil and how they were grown.
Daisy – pull flowers apart for a mass of small quill petals ideal for creating a colourful garnish on desserts or soups, in salads or with savoury dishes. Avoid eating flowers from the daisy family if you suffer hayfever or other allergies.
Elderberry – flowers are most commonly used to make elderflower syrup for cordial drinks, Alternatively dip in a light batter and fry to make elderflower fritters.
Forget-me-not– eat them as a snack on their own or as a garnish.
Freesia – best infused as a tea with a little lemon juice and zest.
Fuchsia – remove the stamen, green and brown bits to remove the bitter parts. They’re great as a salad garnish. You can crystallise them for decorations or add into jelly.
Gladiolus – tastes a bit like lettuce, great added to sweet or savoury dishes.
Geraniums – another flower with a variety of flavours from citrus to a hint of nutmeg.
Gypsophila / Baby’s Breath – mild, slightly sweet flavoured petals, that work well for dessert garnishes.
Honeysuckle – use the petals to make a syrup, pudding, or tea. You can also use the nectar.
Lavender – multiple uses for lavender in both sweet or savoury dishes. Make lavender sugar and add to biscuits, ice cream, jams or jellies. Or put flowers in vegetable stock to make a tasty sauce for poultry or lamb dishes.
Magnolia – Pick young flowers as they start to blossom, they can be pickled or used fresh in salads.
Marigold / calendula – they have a slight citrus taste that can be added to salads, sandwiches, seafood or hot desserts. Only eat occasionally and in moderation.
Nasturtium – These grow really fast, so are great to get a continuing harvest of flowers. They taste peppery and are great added to a salad.
Pansy – quite a mild flavour, they work well in a salad or as a garnish, crystallise for cake decorating.
Primrose – these pretty yellow flowers look beautiful when crystallised, and scattered in a salad. According to folklore, if you eat a primrose, you will see a fairy.
Peony – add the fresh petals to salads, jellies, or lightly cook and sweeten them
Rose – Lovely in drinks, fruit dishes, jams, and jellies thanks to its delicate fragrance.
Strawberry – float petals in drinks, add to salads or crystallise them and decorate desserts.
Sunflower – Petals and seeds are edible. They have a slight nutty taste, the petals taste good in salads or stir fries.
Read here for tips on crystallising flowers.
What flowers have you eaten?