Edible Flowers

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.

1. Pansies

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.

Candied Pansies (can do with any edible flower)

Shortbread Pansy Cookies

Pansy Salad

2. Marigolds

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.

Marigold Jelly

Potato Salad with Marigold Leaves

Summer Rolls with Marigold Flowers

3. Bee Balm (Wild Bergamot)

Edible Flowers - Bee Balm Pesto
Source: Katie Plummer

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.

Bee Balm Pesto

Bee Balm Tea

Watermelon Mint & Feta Salad with Bee Balm

4. Sunflowers

Edible Flowers- Steamed Sunflower Buds
Source: Katie Plummer

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.

Garlic-Butter Steamed Sunflower Buds

Sunflower Leaf Pesto

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

5. Day Lilies

Edible Flowers- Day Lily Fritters
Source: PBS Daylily Fritters

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.

Day Lily Fritters

Garlic Sauteed Day Lily Greens

Spicy Pickled Day Lilies

6. Dianthus

Edible Flowers - Dianthus, Beet, and Lemon
Source: PBS Daylily Fritters

Edible portion: flowers

Dianthus petals taste clove-like with a nutmeg scent. It’s best to cut petals away from the bitter, white base.

Fettuccine With Mushrooms and Clove Pinks

Dianthus Butter

Micro Beet , Dianthus, and Lemon Juice Zing

7. Impatiens

Edible Flowers: Impatiens recipes
Source: Alessandra Zecchini Caprese Salad with red impatiens flower dressing

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.

Italian flat beans with impatiens and feta dressing

Caprese Salad with red impatiens flower dressing

8. Hibiscus

Hibiscus Quesadillas
Source: Feasting at Home Hibiscus Flower Quesadilla

Hibiscus petals have a cranberry-like taste with citrus overtones. They are great for drinks.

Hibiscus Tea

Quesadillas with Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus Jam

9. Honeysuckle

honeysuckle iced tea
Source: Daily Dish Recipes Honeysuckle Tea

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.

Sorbet with Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle Jelly

Honeysuckle Iced Tea

10. Rose

Rose Petal Jam
Source: Feasting at Home Rose Petal Jam

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.

Rose Hip Chutney

Tomato & Rose Petal Harissa

Persian Stuffed Dumpling Squash with Rose Petals

I hope today’s post gives you some inspiration to eat from your garden and open your mind (and belly) to the wonderful world of unusual edible plants!

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