Lots of people enjoy growing fruits and vegetables in their gardens, but few consider planting vibrant, beautiful flowers that can also double as ingredients in cooking. There are many edible flowers that create bold colors, flavors, and dimension to different dishes, be it a garnish to a simple summer salad, or a textural layer to a casserole and other baked foods.
When seeking flowers to incorporate into recipes, it’s important to remember that not all flowers are edible, and that some may even yield a negative reaction if ingested. It is also good to consider that just because a flower is edible, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will taste great, or that you should try to use it in a recipe.
Charlie Nardozzi, a nationally recognized garden writer, has many tips that are helpful when planting flowers meant to adorn your yard with brilliant colors, as well as for eating. In his online segment, “Edible Landscaping with Charlie Nardozzi,” he writes in detail about what sorts of annual and perennial flowers are the best to grow at home, what flowers to avoid eating, as well as a descriptive list of flavor profiles of various edible flowers.
Here are some of his flavor profiles for flowers you may already have growing in your garden at home:
- Baby’s breath has white or pink flowers with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
- Bee balm features red, pink, white, or lavender flowers with a tea-like flavor that’s stronger than the leaves.
- Tulips come in a wide range of colors and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
- Violets have violet, pink, and white flowers with a sweet to
slightly sour flavor.
- African marigold has white, gold, yellow, or red flowers with a strongly pungent flavor.
- Sunflower features white, yellow, orange, or burgundy flowers. Unopened buds taste like a mild artichoke. Flower petals are bittersweet.
- Tuberous begonias have white, pink, yellow, red, orange or multi-colored flowers with a citrus flavor.
Who would have guessed that so many common flowers are also edible?