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©2010 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
Have you ever eaten flowers? You have if you’ve eaten broccoli or artichokes. Broccoli tops are immature flowers and the artichokes are the leaves of the flower. If you’ve eaten Chinese hot and sour soup, dried day lily petals are the key ingredient. Herbal teas include mint, chamomile, hibiscus, rose petals or other flowers.
Flower cookery goes back to the Romans, Chinese and even Indian and Middle Eastern cultures. Using flowers was very popular in the Victorian era. Flowers have been used for garnishing rice and pasta dishes, dressings, beverages, tea, soups, butters, salads, spreads, liqueur, vinegars, natural food dyes, pastries, desserts and even ice cubes! Many restaurants now use flowers in their dishes to give a touch of elegance.
10 Rules for Eating Flowers
- Only eat flowers you can be positive are edible
- If flowers are served with food at a restaurant, do not assume they are edible unless you can identify them.
- Make sure to only eat organic flowers. Do not use pesticides or fertilizers around flowers you plan to eat.
- Never eat flowers from nurseries, garden centers or florists.
- Do not eat flowers if you have asthma, allergies or hay fever.
- Do not pick flowers from the side of the road. Car emissions contaminate plants on roadways.
- Eat only the petals. Remove the pistils and stamens from the flowers before you eat them.
- Some flowers are poisonous, not all are edible.
- Flowers grown in different locations can taste different, and there are many varieties of any one flower.
- Add new flowers to your diet one at a time in small quantities and watch for any physical reactions.
The 10 Most Popular Edible Flowers
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Pansy (Viola x Wiitrockiana)
Chives (Allium schoeonoprasum) Rose (Rosa spp.)
Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Mint (Mentha spp) Signet Marigold (Tagetes signata, T. tenuifolia)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) Squash Blossoms (Curcubita pepo spp.)
Other favorite edible flowers from the garden are: okra, pea, radish, runner bean, society garlic, sunflower, apple, broccoli, arugula, basil, Rose of Sharon, tulip, honeysuckle, jasmine, lilac, orange and lemon. There are many more!
½ cup flowers
½ pound butter (unsalted)
Finely chop the flower petals.
Mix the petals into the softened butter.
Cover the butter and leave out at room temperature for several hours.
Refrigerate for several days to enhance the flavor.
Refrigerate for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
Use on bread, sugar cookies, pound cake and other favorite recipes, substituting for the regular butter.
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup plain yogurt
¾ cup assorted flower petals, coarsely chopped
In a food processor, process the cottage cheese until smooth and then transfer to a nonmetallic bowl.
With a wooden spoon, stir in the flower petals and yogurt. Cover and store in refrigerator overnight to enhance the flavor.
Makes 2 cups.
This is a great dip to substitute for the sour cream and onion soup dip. For a festive looking dip, use a variety of flower colors.
Use for dipping raw vegetables and larger flower petals!
The What’s Cooking America website has more information on individual flowers, cautions and recipes.