They say you are what you eat – so why not choose something as beautiful as a flower?
With these fragrant blossoms that look great on the plate, taste fantastically floral, and offer some pretty awesome all-natural health benefits, you really can have it all!
It may seem novel now, but edible flowers have been around since the hunter-gatherer days, with skillful collectors knowing just which buds to choose for chewing on.
And flowers can add a fresh kick to any dish, with beautiful pops of color and sometimes surprising flavor pallets that can act as part herb, spice or even perfume, taking a recipe into a completely different direction.
Still, you shouldn’t necessarily start treating the florist as your new grocery store.
While a large number of flowers are actually edible, many others aren’t. Those of the non-edible variety range in offensiveness from just not tasting great to being plain poisonous – so be very careful if foraging your own.
Make sure you are totally sure about what you’re picking and about to consume. You could, and should, even consult with field books or other guides, as flowers can sometimes have different shapes or colors and be hard to discern when picking in the wild.
But if you buy these samples from the store or are sure of what you’re picking, they can truly bring a brilliant bouquet to a dish – in more ways than one.
If you’re picking your flowers fresh, make sure to do so in the morning, when they’ll have the highest water content. And it’s also important to note where you’re picking the flowers from – you’ll want to avoid any fields where bug sprays or other chemical treatments are used.
Store the blossoms inside a damp paper towel, inside a sealed container, in the fridge. Flowers can typically be stored fresh for up to a week, though wilted flowers can also be revived with a little help from ice water.
It’s also important to remove the styles and stamens before eating. This helps by alleviating any potential pollen-related allergies, and also ensures the flower’s flavor rings clear.
Finally, you should rinse your flowers in cold water before preparing them – to clear away any remaining dirt, pollen, or even insects.
But once they’re ready to go, there’s any number of ways these beauties can contribute in the kitchen.
There are actually dozens of edible flower species out there, with buds popping up all over the world. But some of the most popular types of edible flowers include:
The beautiful purple blossoms – which look a little like lavender – actually taste anything but floral.
Agastache are known much more for their licorice bite, giving a unique kick to anything they’re added to. Just make sure to pull the small blossoms away from the stem before using them as an ingredient.
These beautiful blue flowers have long been a star of the culinary world – and have a shape to match.
But it’s not even their aesthetic that’s made them so famous with foodies. Borage blossoms carry a unique taste, coming in something almost like cucumber, which makes them a natural addition to many salads or to more refreshing drinks like lemonade.
These marigold flower petals are just as bright as their brilliant orange-yellow hue.
The flowers can taste anything from peppery to bitter, while managing to look anything but. But they’re also sometimes known as the “poor man’s saffron,” as frying the flowers in some olive oil releases a flavor that can make them taste very much like the famous yellow spice.
Traditionally used as a beauty food, these flowers are known for promoting skin that makes you look as fresh as a daisy.
Taste-wise, they come closer to a cranberry – a bit of tartness, a bit of sweet. And they’ve been a longtime favorite of beverage-lovers everywhere, regularly used in everything from teas to cocktails.
From soap to natural dye to food – is there anything this flower can’t do?
The beautiful soft purple buds have a taste not unlike their famous smell: slightly sweet, and sometimes even described as perfume-like. And while the flavor is lovely, it can easily become overwhelming, so it’s best to start small when adding these pops of purple to a recipe.
Another herbaceous blossom, these colorful beauties might as well all be green, for their flavorful resemblance to spearmint.
Pansies have also been described as having a grassy taste – and the fresh-flavored flowers are known for adding their unique pallet to everything from salads to cocktails, or anywhere else something herby would do.
Next time you really want to impress someone you love, try offering them a dozen rose-flavored cookies instead.
The famous flowers are just as lovely when eaten, carrying a very floral, subtle and even slightly fruity taste. Though, don’t be deceived. Though their taste might be delicate, it can easily become overpowering. Still, brave bakers everywhere have included roses in any number of desserts and jams, while chefs have used the flower in any number of recipes for soups, salads and teas.
Their leaves may get all the herbal glory, but the sage plant’s flower has its own burst of color and flavor that’s a welcome addition to a number of dishes.
The small buds bring a beautiful pop of purple to the mix that work well – even visually – with complimentary-colored citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. But their refreshing mix of sweet and savory also pairs well with a citrusy bite.
Another flower that’s not just for the vase.
These shrinking beauties have an equally delicate taste, carrying a sweet and particularly floral flavor pallet. Combined with their beautiful pastel colors, they make for favorites of many bakers, who like to adorn their cakes and cookies with natural violet buds.
It may seem intuitive, but these plants are technically the flowers of the zucchini plant. They don’t quite taste like the vegetable either, carrying instead a much more delicate taste that can verge on the slightly sweet.
Typically, these flowers are served stuffed, but creative chefs have put them in all sorts of places, including the tops of some artisan pizzas.
We don’t know about you, but we’d rather take a flower-topped pizza than a bouquet of flowers any day!