Flowers can make a delicious as well as attractive addition to your cuisine; they have been used by many cultures for centuries. Before eating a blossom, however, be sure you have properly identified it as edible! Some are quite toxic.

Plants you grow are plants you know. You should know the correct identification of your own flowers, and you should know what pesticides might have been used on them. Plants gathered from roadsides, parks, or commercial plantings may well have been exposed to toxic pollutants or chemicals and they cannot be thoroughly enough cleaned to make them safe to eat.

If buying flowers for culinary uses, select organically-grown ones. Most commercial nurseries and florists use pesticides on their plants, so they are unreliable as sources. People with allergies, especially plant allergies such as ragweed, should be cautious when experimenting with flowers for culinary uses. Before choosing a location for your edible flower garden, be sure it has a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sun per day. Harvest flowers for eating early in the day. Most fresh flowers can be kept for several days if lightly rinsed, and then stored between damp paper towels in an airtight container. Different flowers have different attributes; some are used primarily for their appearance but many offer fragrance or flavor as well.

Top Edible FLOWERS

  • ALLIUM (including leeks, chives, etc) – all parts of the blooms have an onion/garlic flavor; flowers are in shades of white, pink, or lavender

  • ANGELICA – lavender flowers have a licorice flavor

  • ANISE HYSSOP – lavender or pink flowers have a licorice flavor

  • ARUGULA – tiny white or yellow flowers have a peppery flavor

  • BACHELOR’S BUTTON – white, blue, or pink petals have a grassy flavor – calyx is bitter, so remove it

  • BASIL – tiny white, pink, or lavender have a basil-y flavor – but more mild than the leaves

  • CALENDULA – yellow or orange petals have a spicy flavor

  • CARNATIONS/DIANTHUS – white, pink or red petals have a sweet flavor – remove calyx

  • CHAMOMILE – tiny white daisies are most often used in tea and have a sweet flavor

  • CHRYSANTHEMUM – petals in a wide array of colors range in flavor from peppery to pungent

  • CILANTRO – heads of tiny white flowers share the flavor of the herb; attractive edible garnish

  • CITRUS – strongly scented white flowers are sweet-tasting as well

  • DILL – heads of tiny yellow flowers taste like a mild version of the leaves

  • FENNEL – flowers look similar to dill, but taste mildly like licorice

  • FUCHSIA – red, pink, or white flowers have a tangy flavor

  • GLADIOLUS – flowers can be stuffed like squash blossoms, and are more abundant

  • HIBISCUS – tart blossoms flavor tea and add vibrant color

  • HOLLYHOCK – blossoms are bland but edible and make a soothing tea or showy garnish

  • IMPATIENS – flowers are edible but have little flavor; excellent for candying

  • JASMINE – fragrant white flowers are used in tea or sweet dishes

  • JOHNNY JUMP UP – little faces have a light minty flavor

  • LAVENDER – edible and fragrant; can be added to a wide variety of dishes

  • LEMON VERBENA – small white flowers add a lemony flavor to foods

  • MINT – tiny flowers are mint-flavored

  • MONARDA – red flowers have a minty flavor

  • NASTURTIUM – all parts are edible: seedpods, flowers & leaves

  • RADISH – both the flowers and the leaves of radishes are also edible & peppery

  • ROSE – all rose petals are edible, and the hips are also useful

  • ROSEMARY – lavender flowers are edible and share the flavor of the leaves

  • SQUASH/PUMPKIN – excellent for stuffing; remove stamens first

  • SUNFLOWER – petals are edible, as well as the seeds

  • VIOLETS – purple flowers are a sweet and tasty, as a garnish or candied