Edible flowers are great for adding a splash of color and an elevated element to any dish. I have put together a list of 10 plants with edible flowers that I think everyone should try at some point. These flowers all are nutritious, tasty, and some are even said to have some medicinal benefits. So go ahead and give one of the recipes below a try! You might be surprised by how well you can eat with flowers around the garden!
WARNING: Before eating any plant that you think has edible flowers…
I recommend doing your own research. Some plants have lookalikes that are poisonous, so always make sure you are 100% certain about the type of plant you have. You should also know the history of the plant, to ensure it’s never been sprayed with harmful chemicals (pesticides/fertilizers). It’s best to find plants that were grown organically. Make sure to never harvest plants from roadsides. And when in doubt, grow the plants from seed yourself, so you’ll be in total control of everything that touches them.
Edible portion: flower
Pansies taste slightly sweet with a hint of earthy, green. Pick just the petals from the flower for a milder flavor. Use them as garnishes, in salads, desserts or in soups.
Edible portion: petals and leaves
I always plant Marigolds in my vegetable garden because they help repel pests, they’re pretty, and they bloom for months. On top of all of that, they’re also edible!
Marigold flavor varies from variety to variety, but some are better tasting than others. Most have a slight citrus flavor.
3. Bee Balm (Wild Bergamot)
Edible portion: petals and leaves
Wild bee balm tastes like oregano with a slight hint of mint. Bee balm is antimicrobial and soothing, so it’s often used to treat colds, flu, indigestion, bloating and nausea. It also has antispasmodic properties, which may help treat menstrual cramps as well as coughs.
Edible portion: all parts of the plant
I’m sure you’ve eaten sunflower seeds before, but how about sunflower petals, leaves, roots, and stems?
The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes, buttery and tender. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used as a garnish. Use leaves when young, as older leaves become tough and hairy. Same with the stems, use them young before they become woody.
5. Day Lilies
Edible portion: petals, buds, tubers, shoots
Day lilies are slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor. Cut the surprisingly sweet petals away from their bitter white bases. The petals are great in desserts and salads. Use whole flowers to decorate cakes and platters. Dry flowers to add into soups. Each bloom only lasts a day, so it’s best to pick them first thing in the morning after they have just opened.
Use young shoots (2-3 inches tall) in pastas and stir-fries.
Cook tubers like you would potatoes, no need to peel them. Eat from late fall to early spring for best tubers. Once the plant flowers, the tuber will turn mushy and won’t be good to eat. Leave some tubers behind as they will multiply and give you new plants the following year.
The buds are great steamed, boiled, or stir-fried.
NOTE: Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative when eaten in large quantities.
Edible portion: flowers
Dianthus petals taste clove-like with a nutmeg scent. It’s best to cut petals away from the bitter, white base.
Edible portion: flowers. DO NOT eat the fruit as they are toxic.
The flowers have a sweet flavor. They can be used as a garnish in salads or floated in drinks.
Hibiscus petals have a cranberry-like taste with citrus overtones. They are great for drinks.
Edible portion: flowers only. DO NOT eat the berries.
The taste of honeysuckles reminds me of being a young child and eating the blooms from my grandmother’s garden. The flowers have a sweet honey flavor.
Edible portion: flowers, fruit
Add roses to dishes to incorporate a subtle and fruity taste, with an intoxicating smell. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. Freeze petals in ice cubes to add some pizazz to drinks. The white portion of the petals can be bitter, so if you are looking for the sweetest taste, remove it.