How To Cook with Edible Flowers

I don’t know if you’ve picked up a food magazine lately, but if you have, you’ve probably seen the hundreds of edible flower recipes that have graced the pages. Edible flowers came back into fashion a few years ago, giving us an untold amount of ways to make our dishes really, really pretty … and tasty.

Turns out, flowers have a strong flavor and fragrance, and they really add something special to pastries, salads, entrees and desserts. Think of them as a special kind of herb: They add an extra level of dimension and style that makes them a total joy to experiment with. Here’s what you need to know about cooking with edible flowers.

Which Flowers to Use

To start with, it’s helpful to know which flowers you should use in your cooking and which you shouldn’t. You probably shouldn’t go plucking tulips from your garden to sprinkle on your salads. In addition to pesticide concerns, it’s important to keep in mind that not all flowers are great for eating. Many flowers lack the nuance of flavor that edible flowers are known for. Start off with these flora when you’re cooking:

How to Cook With Edible Flowers

Mustard Flowers

These pretty little plants are a good first flower to experiment with. According to Bon Appetit, these edible flowers have a similar flavor broccoli rabe, as well as obvious notes of mustard. They’re great on savory dishes that you’d otherwise use mustard in, such as salads, grilled vegetables and certain seafoods.

Borage Flowers

Interestingly, the flavor notes of these buds are often referred to as oyster-like. They have a strong mineral flavor, which makes them great for using in cocktails. Miche Bacher, author of the book “Cooking with Flowers,” told Bon Appetit that she boils them in simple syrup and uses them in basil-cucumber-vodka cocktails.

How to Cook With Edible Flowers

Pansy Blossoms

Thanks to their sweet flavor, pansy blossoms are commonly used in desserts. You may have seen them atop pastry breads, donuts or pound cakes, and they come in a beautiful variety of colors to boot. You could add them to batter for crepes, top your pancakes with them, use them in cocktails … really, anywhere you need extra sweetness. Don’t go crazy with them though – they still call for a delicate hand, or they’ll overpower a dish.

Lavender

Cooking with lavender can be great, as this pretty purple flower is commonly treated as an herb. Its floral, musky scent makes it great for pairing with strong flavors such as lemon, or dried and used as on meats. Lavender is a common component of Herbs de Provence, which is often sprinkled over roasted poultry.

How to Cook With Edible Flowers

Nasturtium

Part sweet, part spicy, the nasturtium is a unique-looking flower with an even more original flavor. It’s a bit peppery and slightly bitter, so it works well with vinegar and atop savory dishes such as seafood. Bon Appetit reports that chefs often use it in alongside shallots and olive oil in vinaigrettes.

Recipes with Edible Flowers

Ready to try your hand at cooking with edible flowers? Try one of these recipes:

  • This Eat-Your-Garden Salad recipe from Sunset calls for the delicate flavors of pansy, carnation, nasturtium, calendula and carnation petals.
  • You can add whatever edible flowers you’d like to this Microgreens Salad from Vegetarian Times. In addition to the flowers you choose, the salad contains microgreens, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and lime juice.
  • There’s literally nothing unattractive about this power bowl, which combines fresh fruit, edible flowers, yogurt and anything else you want to eat. Featured on Designlovefest, this super lovely combination is showcased in a coconut. It doesn’t get much prettier than this.
  • Here’s another salad for you. This Wildflower & Arugula Salad by Harvest and Honey has an arugula base topped with pansies, violas, radishes, farmer’s cheese and onion.
  • We knew we had to include at least one dessert on this list. Try this scrumptious and beautiful Blood Orange & Edible Flowers Pound Cake from Food Above Gold when you’re ready to branch out into the world of floral pastries.

49 comments

Shailja M
Shailja M8 days ago

nice ideas - when spring comes- to decorate the food w/ garden flowers!!

SEND
John B
John B6 months ago

Thanks Maggie for sharing the info and links to the recipes.

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Habout a year ago

thanks

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Vabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Elaine W.
Past Member about a year ago

New adventures!

SEND
Jeff S.
Jeff Sabout a year ago

tyfs

SEND
Randy Q.
Past Member about a year ago

Thanks

SEND
Angela K.
Angela Kabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Margie FOURIE
Margie Fabout a year ago

Thank you

SEND