Ready to bring gorgeous pops of life into your cooking? Edible flowers are the answer! Here’s everything you need to know about cooking with edible flowers, including where to buy them and the most common varieties!
Types of edible flowers
Hibiscus has a tart flavor similar to cranberry. It’s not overly floral, so it can be worked into a wide array of dishes. The tea made from hibiscus can be used to make kombucha or popsicles. Or for an even more unique recipe, use the flower petals to make tacos!
Zucchini blossoms, or squash blossoms, are the yellow flower that grows on the end of each zucchini. Often considered a delicacy, these flowers have a delicate flavor similar to zucchini. They’re typically stuffed and then fried, and are common in Mediterranean cuisine.
Stop and…eat the roses? Yep, roses are an edible flower! The rose hips, buds, and petals can all be consumed (so long as they have not been treated with any inedible pesticides or chemicals). The rose petals contain delicate rose flavor, and can be used to dress up salads or desserts. The buds contain loads of rose flavor, and are great dried or as tea! And finally the rose hips are great cooked down into a jelly or simple syrup.
Transport yourself straight to the south of France with some culinary lavender! This distinct flavor is great in desserts or baked goods. Get our Lavender 101 rundown here!
Did you know that your favorite herbs naturally grow flowers? Cilantro, chives, mint, and dill (just to name a few) all grow edible blossoms! They typically taste like a more mild version of that herb, and are great for sprucing up salads.
Those “weeds” in your yard…they’re edible! The dandelion root can be brewed into a nutrient dense tea, and the blossoms can be fried up for a fun snack!
Common Edible Flowers
When you head to your local grocery and pick up a pack of “edible flowers”, you’ll likely get an array of your basic floral tasting edible flowers. It may include: naturiums, pansies, violas, and stock flowers (just to name a few). These are all great for adding pops of color to salads, spring rolls, popsicles, or even ice cubes!
Where to buy edible flowers
When buying edible flowers, ensure that they have been labeled safe for human consumption. Flowers not intended for consumption have probably been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals that would not be safe to eat.
Many grocery stores carry edible flowers in the produce section (not in the florist section). You may also have luck at your local farmers market, depending on the season.
Dried edible flowers are typically easier to come by, especially online, and you may find a wider variety this way (like hibiscus and lavender).
Fresh or Dried
Edible flowers typically come either fresh or dried. Fresh edible flowers are great for adding delicate touches to salads and desserts. Dried edible flowers, on the other hand, are typically steeped in water to extract the flavor before using in a recipe.
Cleaning & storage
You’ll want to wash your edible flowers well before using, as they often contain little bugs. To wash your flowers, simply submerge them in a bowl of cool water and swish around to release any bugs or dirt. Gently dry with a towel, then use them in your recipe.
Don’t wash your flowers until right before you use them, as the moisture could cause them to spoil more quickly.
To store edible flowers, wrap them in a paper towel and place in a baggie in the refrigerator.