Edible Flowers: What They Are, List And Uses

We know the different types and uses of edible flowers, which have become more and more popular.
Edible flowers add a different and special touch to our recipes. |

Given their growing popularity, natural edible flowers are a widely used element in some restaurants. There are different types of flowers that are used in different ways such as for cakes, soups, oils or as sweets.

Read this text if you want to know what edible flowers are, what types are there and what dishes they could be used in. We will also review the precautions when having this product and what characteristics each flower has. 

What are edible flowers?

Edible flowers are those kinds of flowers that can be eaten with no problem. They are usually dried, frozen or put into oil to dress salads or any other dish.

The aromatic power of the flower petals mixed with the vinegar or oil can combine perfectly well. If these flowers crystalize with egg whites and sugar they are the perfect accessory to put on a wedding, birthday or anniversary cake. 

There are many types that are edible, usually those from vegetables such as garlic or leek. There are also many herbs which can be eaten as oregano, rosemary, coriander or mint. However, the most eye-catching ones are the decorative ones due to their colorful appearance.

Precaution and contraindication

However, it is important to know which can be eaten with no problem because there are many flowers that are considered toxic. Others can be eaten but only after a certain preparation. 

Severe allergic reactions to this type of food can also develop, especially if they contain pollen and if they have not been treated in the correct way, that is, for example, the pesticides they contained have not been eliminated.

There are also some flowers, such as those from the Madhuca longifolia, which shouldn't be eaten very often. Finally, it is not recommended at all to ingest flowers that are damaged or that contain insects to ensure the health of the person who consumes them.

Edible flowers list

There are a lot of edible flowers that we can include in our recipes. Each one of them has specific characteristics and unique traits to our dishes, so it is interesting to know them well. 

1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

The flower of this plant has a similar taste to its leaves. However, the touch the flowers have is a lot more light so it is usually used as the perfect complement for salads. Its white and purple colors give it a very colorful and beautiful touch.  

Basil is more than an edible flower; it is a plant that is used in our dishes and drinks.

2. Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

As it is known, poppies have a characteristic red color. It is important that their flowers are consumed before the flower buds appear because they tend to be toxic. Its petals are also used to aromatize alcoholic beverages such as wine.

Poppies are also flowers that can be eaten, only before their buds appear.

3. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragon flower is a very curious one -not only because of its name. It has light and delicate colors such as white, purple, and yellow. These features make it an ideal decoration for cakes and salads. Its flavor is usually not very intense but other species of it, it can be stronger. 

Snapdragon is characterized by its beautiful colors.

4. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

These flowers are very popular and they are sold around the world. They are totally edible and they are usually used in salads. They have colors that go from red, to orange, and yellow and it has a bit of a spicy taste. They can also go with legumes, rice or potatoes. 

Edible flowers, such as Nasturtium, are perfect for salads.

5. Borage (Borago officinalis)

Borage is one of the best-known edible plants. Its blue petals have a similar flavor to a cucumber and they are used as seasoning for sandwiches, salads or soups.

Borage is one of the most curious-looking edible flowers.

6. Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)

The color of carnation flowers are different depending on their species but the red one is the most characteristic one. They have a very aromatic flavor with different shades of pepper, clove and other types of spices. They are, therefore, a perfect condiment in salads, fruit salads or kinds of butter.

This edible flower is the most used in gastronomy.

7. Jasmin (Jasminum officinale)

This edible flower is white and it usually goes in dishes made with birds such as chicken or turkey, as well as fish stew. It is used in infusions and ice cubes for more sophisticated cocktails.

Jasmine is another of the most popular edible flowers.

8. Rose (Rosa spp)

The rose is the flower par excellence. Its taste is sweet and a little spicy. It is especially recommended to use in cakes, pies, ice creams, jams and fruit salads. When frosted with sugar, they are an exquisite snack.

Rose petals are often used in the making of jams |

9. Violet (Viola odorata)

The violet presents sweet and perfumed touches. It is usually consumed dry and it is combined in omelettes with other vegetables. Jam and sweets are also made with this flower.

Violets are edible flowers that brighten the appearance of any dish.

10. Geraniums (Pelargonium spp)

The colors of the geranium flower are so striking that they are perfect for decorating desserts, cakes, and colorful beverages. Their taste is between citrus and floral, also ideal for creating flower water.

Edible flowers can give our dishes and recipes an original and surprising touch.

Where to use them

Although it is not known, some flower buds are consumed in our gastronomy. There are also other types that can be used to prepare salads, soups or dishes in syrup.

In the following lines, you will read about some dishes that can be prepared with different types of edible flowers. We will also let you know which are the best ones to use in each case.

1. Cakes and confectionary

Violet is one of the perfect edible flowers for cakes, ice-creams or sorbets, due to its menthol and perfumed taste. It can be included dry or fresh. Carnations have a similar flavor to clove and it is usually used in pastries. Another example that you can use in this section is roses.

2. Soups and hot dishes

Sunflower petals are usually cooked to remove the bitter taste and are used in soups. Courgette and pumpkin can also be eaten fried and stuffed to make quesadillas and Mexican soups.

3. Main dishes

Although it is not really something people know about, broccoli, cauliflower, caper or chives are some examples of flower buds. These foods are usually eaten boiled, baked, roasted and they can be eaten as a main dish or as a side dish.

4. Salad accompaniment

Basil, chamomile, Centaurea, lilac or chrysanthemum are some examples of petals that can perfectly combine in any salad, sauce or vinaigrette. Daisies can also be used but as they have a very light flavor, it is usually used as a decorative flower. 

5. Seasonings in dishes

Calendula, for example, is a flower with a spicy touch and similar to saffron that used freshly can spice different dishes. Centaurea, dill flower or rosemary flower are also examples of edible flowers for seasonings.

6. Teas and infusions

Chamomile, elderberry or jasmine are perfect examples of specific flowers for preparing infusions and teas. Their strong and aromatic flavours give the infusions a characteristic touch.

Where to buy edible flowers

Although these flowers can be planted and cultivated easily, these flowers can be bought in any herbalist or on the internet.

Since their use in the kitchen is becoming more and more widespread and not only by renowned restaurants, it is important to know where they can be bought. Generally, you can find them in any supermarket.

Also, Amazon offers any variety for different types of dishes as well as cultivation and germination kits of edible flowers. Some of these products are quite affordable. Follow these links to buy edible flowers: Amazon US / Amazon UK