Edible Flowers

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 5, 2017)

I remember sucking nectar from Honeysuckle when I was a little girl, but I do not recall eating the flower. And I occasionally eat the parsley that accompanies my meal at our local steak house, because my mother always told me that parsley freshens your breath. But parsley is an herb, and not a flower. Did you know that people have eaten flowers for thousands of years? In fact, recipes dating to 140 B.C. cite flowers as part of traditional food. The Romans used rose petals and violet blooms in their foods, while the French used carnation petals in their Chartreuse liqueur. Some of those recipes have been improved upon and you can still find stuffed squash blossoms in fine Italian restaurants. And the Old Testament of the Bible speaks of Dandelions used as a bitter herb.

While I don't recommend that you go pluck flower blooms and Dandelion blossoms out of your yard and serve them to your family for dinner, you can peruse a list of edible flowers and then research how best to incorporate them into a recipe. Here are some familiar flowers and the parts that are considered edible:

  • Honeysuckle—nectar and flower.
  • Chamomile—flower heads.
  • Roses—petals (but remove the bases).
  • Violets—flowers.
  • Chrysanthemum—petals.
  • Tulips—petals.
  • Daylilies—petals and the flower buds.
  • Pansies—petals.
  • Lavender—petals.

If you are allergy prone, then you should never eat flowers. Never place an inedible flower onto someone's plate even as a garnish! A person might think that anything placed on the plate is edible. Here are just a few of the more common flowers that are poisonous: Crocus, Azalea, Bloodroot, Buttercup, Caladium, Calla Lily, Chinaberry, Daffodil, Nightshade, Clematis, Four O'clock, Foxglove, Horse Chestnut, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iris, Ivy, Jack-in-the Pulpit, Jasmine, Jonquil, Lily of the Valley, Marigold, Mistletoe, Morning Glory, Periwinkle, Potato, Sweet Pea, and Wisteria.

It's wise to consult reputable resources online, at your library, or your local cooperative extension office to find out how best to use edible flowers. Always wash flowers thoroughly since some may contain harmful pesticides.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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