The edible flowers found in this chart are not the only ones by any means which can be used in garnishes, flavoring in soups, or additions to salads. These are the ones I deemed more familiar to the gardener and also readily available to purchase.
I do want to note here there are flowers which should never be eaten, and this list is not all of the flowers that should be avoided. These include rhododendron, wisteria, foxglove, oleander, crocus, azalea and daffodil.
You will often see flowers served with certain types of food. This does not imply that they are edible flowers. They may be in fact just a garnish or adding an attractive decoration to the plate of goodies.
So it would be advisable not to garnish plates with non-edible flowers because many people have the opinion that everything on the plate is edible. People may not know if the flower is edible or not, and would be hesitant to ask or even think about whether the flower is edible or not.
Edible Flowers Chart
|Common Name||Botanical Name||Comments|
|Alliums||Alliums||Leeks, chives, garlic known as the”flowering onions” There are many species that includes the well-known onion, garlic, chives, ramps and shallots and all are edible. The flavors range from mild right through the strong taste of onion and garlic|
|Angelica||Angelica Archangelica||The flavor resembles licorice. The seeds and stems are sometimes candied and used in a sweeten alcoholic drink. The leaves and shoots make a great addition to a green salad. It tastes of celery and is often served with fish.|
|Anise Hyssop||Agastache Foeniculum||Another flower that has a licorice taste. However, there are those who seem to think it tastes like root beer. I never got that impression but to each his own. The blossoms can be used as a very neat plate garnish and can also be found in Chinese dishes.|
|Arugula||Eruca Vesicaria||It is found raw in salads. The leaves of Arugula can be identified with radishes as well as it taste. Its taste is further described as somewhat nutty, peppery and even spicy.|
|Basil||Ocimum Basilicum||The botanical name sounds like a Roman God. Anyway this is one of most favorite edibles. You can actually eat the flowers and they are milder than the leaves but very similar in taste. They can be added to salads or pasta especially in a pesto sauce added to the pasta at serving time.|
|Bee Balm||Mondarda species||It has the flavor of oregano and perhaps mint. Any recipe calling for oregano can be replaced with bee balm blossoms. Both the leaves and petals can be combined with either fruit or vegetable salads. For you tea lovers, bee balm can be used as a substitute for the predominant ingredient in Earl Gray Tea.|
|Carnations||Dianthus caryophyllus||It is spicy, clove-like or even the scent of nutmeg, and definitely peppery. You could soak it in wine or maybe even use as a cake decoration. The petals, which have a sweet taste, must be removed from the bitter white base of the flower than use in desserts. It appears in Chartreuse a liqueur since the early 17th century.|
|Cilantro||Coriander||Many people love the taste of cilantro, which to some has very soapy taste. My husband does not like the soapy taste so she is one of those that despises this herb. It is the chief ingredient in salsa and many other Spanish and oriental dishes.|
|Dandelion||Taraxacum Officinalis||Ah yes fry those young buds in butter and get the taste of mushrooms. My father-in-law used to produce a wicked wine with dandelions. The buds definitely have a better taste than the flowers. See more Information about dandelions.|
|Dill||Anthum Graveolens||It is excellent to season hot or cold soups. It is excellent in seafood as well as dressing and dips. It has a very tangy flavor.|
|Fennel||Foeniculum vulgare||The bulb is crisp and has a slight sweet taste. It is very good served in raw salads. The bulb can also be braised, sautéed, roasted, or grilled and becomes mild and softens with cooking. The leaf is very similar to dill and has a licorice flavor and is often used in fish dishes.|
|Jasmine||Jasminum Sambac||The flowers are most often used for scenting tea.|
|Lemon Verbena||Aloysia Triphylla||It has a very lemon flavor and can be used in place of lemon zest in recipes. It is definitely an enhancement in fruit salad. Try placing 6 leaves that have been ground into sugar and then top your baked muffins with this mixture or you can even sprinkle it into your muffin batter.|
|Mint||Mentha Species||My husband truly loves mint tea. A flower pot is kept full of mint and then the leaves are picked and placed into boiling water for a true mint tea flavor. They are also used in Middle Eastern dishes.|
|Nasturtuim||Trapaeolum majus||It has a peppery flavor. It is one of the most common edible flowers. It adds great flavor to salads and can be used as a garnish for many platters.|
|Okra||Hibiscus Esculentus||This plant produces flowers similar to hibiscus and when harvested at the tender stage results in a very delicious vegetable dish. This can be done either stewed or fried. For those of you who love asparagus this is the edible for you. It has a taste very close to asparagus.|
|Pansy||Viola X Wittrockiana||I guess I never thought of pansies as an edible flower by eating the petals only you will notice a very mild flavor. These are used in fruit salads, desserts, green salads or even in soups.|
|Sage||Salvia Officinalis||It has been described as having the flavor that seems to be a mixture of rosemary, pine and mint. I find the best way to “crush” sage leaves is to rub them between your hands and I guess that is where “rubbed sage” originated. It goes well with soups especially split pea and is a great addition to corn bread, or cover a pork roast with sage leaves before roasting. Many, many uses but use it in sparing amounts since its strong flavor can overwhelm what you are cooking.|
|Thyme||Thymus Vulgaris||Thyme has many uses. It has dozens upon dozens of medicinal uses. It is used in food such as poultry stuffing and fish sauces. It can be used in flavoring a roast beef as it is cooking. It is also used in soups. Some say it has a lemon flavor but I am not so sure I detect that in thyme.|
|Violets||Viola species||It has the taste of sweet nectar.|
I have included additional flowers that are not considered an edible flower. You can review them here.
I have also included a couple of recipes below which may be useful for putting this into action. Please provide us with some of your edible flowers recipes, and if you have a photo of your finished product that would also be of interest.
Edible flowers can add some zest to your life!
Recipes for Edible Flowers
- 12-25 basil leaves
- 6-7 spinach leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup of cold pressed olive oil
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
- Two tablespoons of hot water
Using a blender with speed on low and one spatula add leaves of both basil and spinach to the blender. Then one-half cup of olive oil. Activate the blender and mix until leaves are totally in a fine brew. Use the spatula to keep leaves off the side of blender.
Stop the blenders add two garlic cloves and continue to blend adding the rest of the olive oil. Continue to run blender and blend in the cup of cheese and the two table spoons of hot water.
Transfer to small bowl using your spatula to assist in cleaning out the blender. You can add a handful of pine nuts into the blender as optional if you so desire.
I know you are thinking this has to be disgusting however you will be quite surprised
- One egg and one cup of milk
- One cup of flour
- Add a tablespoon of honey for sweetness totally optional
- 12-18 dandelion flowers
Mix all the ingredients including egg, milk, and flour and honey (if you decided to try this) in a bowl. Now remove the dandelion flowers from the green stalk and add them to the batter.
Get out your pancake pan or use a frying pan and just make them the same as you would pancakes. If you did not add the honey to the batter, now you can use just plain old maple syrup or favorite jelly or jam. You’re in for a treat!