edible flowers

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Flowers are generally not for eating. The flowers are left on the plant so that you can grow vegetables that are generally much tastier.

Having said that; there are some flowers which are definitely worth eating. This is maybe because either these flowers do not develop any tasty fruit or they can add a different tinge to the taste buds.

Like fruits, vegetables, etc. flowers too can be a part of our cuisine. It can be used for therapeutic purposes, balancing tastes, fragrance and even to improve the aesthetic appeal of a dish.

Here in this article, we will discuss 12 edible flowers that are really affordable and also easy to grow. Add them to your kitchen garden and you will get addicted to them.

Though there are many vegetables that are biologically flowers, like cauliflower or broccoli we have not added them here as they are considered more of a vegetable than a flower.

Best Edible Flowers for Your Cuisine

This article is about edible flowers, flowers that you can eat. They may not be popular vegetables but you can definitely use them as a change in your cuisine. Some of the flowers which you can eat are:

1. Squash Flowers:

edible flowers for eating

All squash flowers are edible. Plants such as Zucchini are famous for their large-sized edible flowers. You can use both summer and winter squash flowers for eating.

Eat them raw or add to salads. You can also stuff the blossoms with herbed cheeses and fry or bake them until the delicate petals become crispy.

As you already know, squash produces both male as well as female flowers. So, choose only male flowers in edible purposes. This way you can enjoy eating the flowers without sacrificing the squash harvest because it is the female flowers that turn into fruits.

Male squash flowers are easy to spot. They have a long, thin stem and typically grow around the outer edges of the plant.

Female flowers usually grow closer to the plant’s center and have a small, bulbous fruit at the base of the blossom where it meets the stem.

Edible Flowers: 10 Flowers That You...
Edible Flowers: 10 Flowers That You Can Eat

2. Nasturtium:

edible flowers for eating

Because of its brightly colored blossoms and unique, savory flavor Nasturtium is very popular among people. You can use the young flowers in salads, they have a peppery taste and slightly spicy flavor. They are also good for garnishing cakes, pastries.

Apart from the flowers, you can also use the leaves for eating purposes, although the taste might be a bit stronger than the flowers. The Nasturtium leaves are round and resemble small lily pads. They’re quite tender so you can use them as salad greens or make a pesto.

Nasturtium is only eye-catching but also very nutritious, it contains a variety of minerals and health-promoting antioxidants.

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3. Rose:

edible flowers for eating

The petals of roses are used in many Indian dishes. Those fragrant petals always add a special aroma to the food. Dried rose petals are a common garnishing ingredient in many sweets and food. You can use the petals in tea also. In Middle Eastern cuisine, the petals are distilled into rosewater for concentrated flavor.

Rose petals help in lowering cholesterol levels. Rosewater can reduce inflammation, soreness and is a natural coolant.

Always use organically grown roses for edible purposes. Rose is easy to grow and you can easily have a lot of rose flowers in your house just by following these simple tips.

4. Banana flower:

edible banana flower

Although it is widely known as a vegetable, the banana blossom is actually a flower. You can eat Banana flowers raw, cooked in soups, stews, and curries. They are a powerful source of protein, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.

While not a staple to American palates, they are very common to most Asian or Indian grocery stores.

5. Marigold:

marigold flower

Marigold flowers are also called “the poor man’s saffron.” You can use the petals to color your dishes, in salads, stir-fries or quiche. Pull flowers apart and use the colorful petals, remove any green or white parts. Although all marigold flowers are edible not all marigold flowers are tasty.

Use French marigold, signet marigold or Mexican mint marigold they are the tastiest among all.

These marigold growing tips will help you grow them in your house.

6. Borage:

edible flowers for eating

Borage plants produce delicate, star-shaped flowers that can be blue, white or pink in color. The flowers taste like cucumber. You can use the flowers in both culinary as well as medicinal therapy.

Either eat the flower raw, in a salad or as a garnish for desserts.

Other than the flower, you can also eat borage leaves.

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7. Hibiscus:

Growing hibiscus flower

Hibiscus is native to tropical or subtropical climates. The plants produce large, ornate blossoms that can grow up to 6 inches in diameter. A Hibiscus flower can be red, yellow, pink or even white in color.

Although sometimes grown for strictly ornamental purposes, you can also use hibiscus flowers in cooking. Use them in tea, relishes, jam or salads. You can even eat the flower straight from the plant.

Hibiscus tea has a tart, somewhat sour flavor and possesses many medicinal properties. It can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

They are a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are low in calories, high in fibre and helps weight loss.

We have a detailed article on how to grow Hibiscus plants. See that for more information.

8. Sesbania Flower:

sesbania grandiflora 219094 640

Sesbania flowers are one of the lesser-known varieties of edible Indian flowers. Just like a banana blossom, you can use it to prepare culinary dishes. Add them to vegetables and curries.

Sesbania flowers are very good for constipation, inflammation and preventing stomach infections, reducing headaches etc.

9. Papaya flower:

identify male and female papaya plant

Papaya flowers in culinary practice are quite common in many parts of the world. They are commonly used in salads, cooked dishes. Papaya flowers can fight lung infections and liver problems.

10. Calendula:

calendula flower

Calendula produces pale yellow to deep orange flowers from late spring to midsummer.

Calendula flowers have a slightly bitter flavor and are valued mostly for their color. Separate the petals from the center of the flower and sprinkle the petals into salads. You can also use them soups, butter, rice, stews, poultry, or in tea.

Calendula is sometimes also used to substitute saffron in dishes. You can also store the flowers for future use. Dry individual petals on paper and store in a moisture-tight container.

11. Dandelion:

dandellion flower

These stubborn garden weeds have highly nutritious edible flowers. The flowers are small in size (1–1.5 inches in diameter) with many tiny bright-yellow petals. You can eat the flowers raw (either alone or tossed into a salad), use fried or make jellies and wines.

But flowers are not the only part that is edible, you can also use the roots, stems and leaves of these so call garden weeds.

They possess powerful antioxidants.

12. Lavender:

edible lavender flowers

Lavender is famous for its distinctive fragrance. They are native to northern Africa and the Mediterranean. The flowers are small, violet in color.

Due to its aroma and color lavender is a good addition to your kitchen. You can use them in a variety of foods like baked goods, syrups, liqueurs, herbal teas, etc. Lavender pairs well with citrus, berries, rosemary, sage, thyme and chocolate etc. They also have a calming effect on people.

While cooking, lavender can quickly become overpowering. So always start with a small amount and increase slowly until you achieve the desired flavor.

[Bonus] Basil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, and Arugula:

edible flowers for eating

These flowers are all aromatic and can be used in food for flavor or color.

Basil Flowers:

Fresh flowers have a typical basil flavor, but a little milder. Different varieties may have a different flavor. They work great with pasta, cheese, vegetables, and simply anything that pairs well with basil.

Chives:

Chive flowers and leaves have an onion flavor. Sprinkle the flowers on soups, salads, vegetables to get the best flavor.

Fennel Flower:

Fennel flowers taste similar to licorice. They are used as flavoring in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Use them in soups, fish recipes, salads and teas. You can also use flowers, seeds and leaves for teas.

Here Are A Few Tips on Edible Flowers:

  • Feed the plants once the first bud appears. Plants such as roses need good caring. If you are planning to grow roses check out our tips on rose growing.
  • Choose the compost ingredients which are rich in Potassium (K) and Phosphorous (P) for growing edible flowers.
  • Use mulch to control weeds and retain enough water in the soil.
  • Do not eat any flower on which any pesticide or chemical has been applied.
  • Not every flower is edible. Some can even be toxic. Use the scientific naming process to select your flower.
  • Before using any flower identify it properly. Always be sure that the flower is not poisonous prior to eating.
  • Consume only organically grown flowers.
  • After harvesting, quickly use the flower so you will get the best flavor possible.
  • Whenever you try out a new variety of edible flowers add them slowly into your diet otherwise it may cause allergic reactions.
  • Try different methods like fresh, cooked, frozen, dried, or preserved in oils or vinegar to prepare your edible flowers.
  • Avoid flowers that are either grown with chemical fertilizers or untreated animal manure within four months prior to harvest. Remember not all varieties of the same plant is edible. So if you are buying flowers from a nursery or garden center do not consume unless it has labelled edible.

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