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Life is Beautiful Blog

Incorporating Edible Flowers Into Your Culinary Creations

Blaire Benson

Edible flowers may be used culinarily in a variety of ways. They make colorful, striking garnishes for drinks as well as food, for everything from salads to soups and desserts.

We love Sunset’s Eat-Your-Garden-Salad, as it inspires us to take a second look at our blooming beauties and add them to our plate. Nasturtium petals are a classic addition for a bit of peppery and mustardy flavor, but we love the idea of throwing in a few pansy petals for unexpected coloring.

We also love this Squash Blossom Pesto Pizza, incorporating one of our favorite edible flowers and delicious roasted tomatoes. (Psst! Missed Randall’s Simple Basil Recipe? Be sure to stop in to pick up our fresh basil to incorporate in your summer cooking today!)

Perfect for a summer party, decorate your water pitcher or ice cubes with peony, rose, pansy, nasturtium, violet and geranium petals for an unexpected pop of color in your chilled summer drinks. Don’t forget the dessert! Adorn your summer sweets with dandelions, fuchsia, gladiola, gardenia, hibiscus, lavender, primrose, jasmine and more to add unexpected beauty to your tasty delights! A sprinkle of flower petals over a cake is an easy way to add charm to a simple dessert.

Once you start growing your flowers to be eaten, it is best to grow them as organically as you can. Looking for a particular flavor? Edible flowers can pack a punch of sweet, peppery or tangy flavor. With so many options (listed below), you’ll be sure to find the perfect garnish for your summer cooking!

  • Bachelor Buttons: varies from sweet to spicy, with clove flavor
  • Basil: lemon and mint flavors
  • Borage: cucumber flavor*
  • Calendula: spicy, tangy, peppery*
  • Carnations: spicy, peppery, clover-like flavor and aroma
  • Chive: onion flavor
  • Citrus: sweet and highly scented, use frugally
  • Day Lilies: slightly sweet like lettuce or melon
  • Dianthus: clove-like flavor*
  • Fuchsia: tangy flavor
  • Hibiscus: famously used in teas, tart cranberry flavor
  • Jasmine: sweet and super fragrant, use in teas
  • Lavender: floral, add to sweet and savory dishes
  • Marigolds: spicy to piquant, bitter
  • Mint: minty intensity varies among varieties
  • Mums: slightly piquant to very bitter*
  • Nasturtiums: peppery* 
  • Pansies: varies from sweet to tart flavor
  • Rosemary: pine-like flavor
  • Roses: sweet flavor
  • Stocks: from spicy to sweet flavor*
  • Squash: sweet flavor
  • Thyme: lemon flavor
  • Violas: from mild wintergreen flavor to bland*

*Flowers you can have for the cool season (September - March)