Extreme Cuisine – Edible Flowers

By / Food / May 13th, 2011 / Like

As you walk up and down the fresh produce aisles of your local grocery store, you’ve probably noticed the packages of fresh flowers tucked in between the herbs and the heads of lettuce. Have you tried them yet? Edible flowers have been trendy in salads, especially, for a few years now. Beyond colourful and exotic garnishes to leafy first courses, edible flowers make really pretty additions to meat dishes, like grilled steaks or carne asada wraps. Some flowers contribute bright colours, but little in the way of flavour. Others, however, offer flavours and textures that are truly their own and can complement all manner of food.

Eating flowers may sound pretty interesting, but not all are edible. Check out the list below to find out which ones you should definitely try. Another number one rule to make sure you never break is to always know where your flowers come from. Organic flowers are safest. So, if you can’t confirm that your grocer carries the cleanest and most accurately labelled flowers, don’t buy them. Instead, grow your own. The only prep needed is to remove the pistils and stamens from the flowers before consuming them.

Try these:

Borage – small purple flowers; grassy flavour. Great in a green salad with oil and lemon dressing.

Calendula – yellow or orange flowers; bland flavour. Float a few flower petals in a bowl of creamy, squash soup.

Daylily – colours range from yellow to orange to variegated; tastes like cucumber with a subtly sweet finish. Slip a leaf in between a Portobello mushroom and a slice of goat cheese; grill until hot and melted.

Nasturtium – the colour of this flower, too, ranges from yellow to red to variegated; it has a peppery bite. Add to guacamole.

Pansy – comes in practically all colours of the rainbow; tastes like lettuce. Sprinkle over Caesar salad for a colourful twist on a classic.

Rose – colours and flavours vary according to the type of rose. Experiment to find your favourite. Add chopped, fresh rose petals to lightly sautéed bok choy.

Squash – these yellow or white blossoms have been popular for centuries drizzled with oil and vinegar or stuffed with provolone cheese.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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