Edible Flowers - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Edible Flowers

A floral garnish can add color and elegance to a dinner party that your guests will never forget. Many garden flowers can be used as edible garnish or to lend flavor and color to a cooked dish. But be sure to read up before you begin…some flowers can lead to upset stomach, or worse, if eaten in large quantities.

Blossoms of borage, chrysanthemum, cornflower and dianthus can float in a bowl of soup or punch. Violet, miniature rose, lavender and honeysuckle blooms add a sweet flavor to salads or desserts. Daylilies and squash blossoms can be stir-fried, or batter-dipped and deep fried. Nasturtiums and mustard flowers lend a spicy flavor to casseroles. Bright yellow calendula flowers make an economical substitute for saffron.

On your first trial, go easy on the flowers. Eating too many blossoms can lead to upset tummies, diarrhea and stomach cramps. You might want to start out using flowers as a garnish and sample the flavors before trying more daring culinary delights. Or sprinkle a few flower petals over a salad to add color and flavor.

Pick flowers in the morning or late afternoon when water content is at its peak. Choose only those blossoms that are free of insects, disease or other damage. Do not harvest from plants that were treated with pesticides, unless the product was labeled for use on edible flowers and the harvest restrictions have been followed. Gently wash the blooms in water to remove dirt and allow to drain on paper towels. Once harvested, flowers will not keep long – even when refrigerated – so plan to serve within a few hours of harvesting.

 


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