We have posted about foraging and eating flowers – but it’s hard for some people to wrap their brains around edible flowers. Here are some tips to getting started – and a super simple recipe.
Start With Edible Herb Flowers
If you are unsure of this whole concept of eating flowers – start with the flowers of some common garden herbs. Basil flowers can go into any dish where you would use basil, plus they look great in salads. Garlic chive and society garlic flowers taste garlicky, and are yummy in stir fry. Add some mint flowers to your next pitcher of iced tea.
Ten Rules for Safely Enjoying Edible Flowers – under our “Savor Safely” menu.
General Flower Flavors
Sweet flowers like ocotillo blooms, desert lavender, and garden favorites like violets, pansies, carnation, and roses all taste good with desserts like fruit compotes, as a herbal-type tea, made into jellies, or in cakes. Indeed, you can add many flowers to cakes. Lemon coffee cake is so much more festive with half cup of the lemony flowers of bee balm, calendula, or lemon blossoms! Spice cake benefits from the nutty flavor of apple or apricot blooms (catch them on a cloth spread under the tree, thus you will still get fruit).
You can also se our post about how Rose petals make tasty beverages.
Tart or peppery flavors are great in salads. Flowers like mustard, London rocket, nasturtium, radish, broccoli, mustard greens, or oxalis (shamrock), add color and piquant touch.
Mild flavored flowers that go with virtually anything include sunflower (“petals” only), calendula, and palo verde blooms. The mauve stars of borage flowers perk up any dish, and their cucumbery flavor is good in gazpacho, salads, or in refreshing cucumber water.
Anise-flavor is fun. If you like the flavor of tarragon, the flowers of anise hyssop, fennel, and sweet marigold (AKA Mexican tarragon) are delightful straight off the plant. They also taste good in egg dishes, like quiche, omelets, or Eggs Benedict.
Lavender smells great and has been used in cooking for years – no – eons! Not sure about cooking with lavender? Uncle Smokey makes some killer BBQ chicken that has lavender honey as it’s base. (post soon)
So easy to make. Just harvest some lavender. Wash it. Put it in a jar. Pour honey over the lavender. Wait 3 months. The lavender flavor will infuse into the honey and it will taste fantastic. Use any of the European lavenders (Lavendula species) or our native desert lavender (Condea emoryi, former name Hyptis emoryi). A how-to video will be posted on our YouTube channel soon.
PS – Uncle Smokey has a lavender honey BBQ sauce that is to die for! I’m making him some more lavender honey right now so I can savor some of that! We will post it with some pics.
Live a little! Just follow the Ten Rules for Edible Flowers (under Savor Safely). Be bold. Experiment with taste and color. Flowers are fun, in the yard and on the table.
Speaking of Edible Flowers
Our ancestors used to eat flowers all the time – before there were supermarkets and tidy clean food. I share some edible flowers in this out-of-print, award winning Southwestern book – Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today The review says:
“Award-winning garden writer Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule has pulled together a fascinating book on the life of Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and some of the plants that he brought to Southern Arizona and northwestern Sonora, and area called the Pimeria Alta.”
A steal at only $20! This link is to our sales site. The profits from the sale go to the local Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute. We hope you will help support this great Southwest non-profit!
© Article copyright Savor the Southwest // Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit. You must include a link back to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.
The authors of this website have researched the edibility of the materials we discuss, however, humans vary in their ability to tolerate different foods, drinks, and herbs. Individuals consuming flowers, plants, animals or derivatives mentioned in this blog do so entirely at their own risk. The authors on this site cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction. In case of doubt please consult your medical practitioner.