Cooking with Edible Flowers: Recipes for Nasturtium Balsamic Chicken, Beans with Flower Confetti, and Violet Coconut Cake


Daylilies stuffed with chicken-artichoke salad

Daylilies with Chicken-Artichoke Salad Photo by Sheryl Campbell

Edible flowers are used in recipes and as garnishes at many restaurants these days, but have you tried them in your own garden and kitchen? There are so many edible flowers to choose from, and you may already grow many of them in your ornamental or vegetable beds. There may even be some growing wild on your property as there are in mine.

A couple of key safety rules to remember when growing and using your own edible flowers is that you must not put any chemicals on them. That means no chemical fertilizers, and no insecticides. Also don’t use flowers grown close to the road as car exhaust can be taken up in them while growing.

Edible Flowers and Where to Find Them

Here are all the edible flowers that I use in cooking for my family and friends. I’ve divided them out by where you are likely to find them in your gardens and on your property. Go to Bouquet Banquet’s Listing for details on each type of edible flower, including its Latin name (important for safe identification), information on taste, and suggested uses in the kitchen.

From your vegetable garden, use the flowers of:

  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Runner beans
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Fennel
  • Mustard
  • Sweet potato
  • Onions
  • Shallots

From your herb bed, use the flowers of:

  • Anise hyssop
  • Tarragon
  • Bee balm
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Borage
  • Mints (each type has a different taste)
  • Basils (each type has a different taste)
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Savory
  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm

From your ornamental flower beds, use the flowers of:

  • Violets
  • Tuberous begonias
  • Tulips
  • Calendula
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Fuchsia
  • Violas
  • Dianthus
  • Nasturtium
  • Dahlia
  • Sunflower
  • Tulips
  • Daylily
  • Roses
  • Gardenia
  • Gladiola
  • Lavender
  • Hibiscus
  • Marigold

From the wild, use the flowers of:

  • Red clover
  • Dandelion
  • Wild purslane
  • Wood sorrel
  • Wild strawberry
  • Wild violets

From your trees, shrubs, and vines, use the flowers of:

  • Apple
  • Wild rose
  • Japanese honeysuckle
  • Elderberry
  • Crab apple
  • Plum
  • Lilac
  • Red bud
  • Orange

Ways to Cook With Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are flavorful, they are textured, and they are colorful. There are flowers that taste of cloves, of cinnamon, of pepper, and anise. Bite into other flowers for the taste of beans, asparagus, and cucumbers, but not from the plants that give you those actual vegetables. You can find a large number of Edible Flower Recipes here to start your own kitchen experiments.

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