5 Edible Flowers to Know About This Spring

Laurey W. Glenn
Fancy without so much fuss. 

Everyone loves flowers, and that’s just a fact. They’re beautiful, they smell nice, they inject color into our lives. So why not incorporate them into your cooking? Edible flowers come in a range of colors, flavors, and textures, and can enhance existing flavors in dishes, add new notes of their own, or simply make an impressive garnish. Want add a little something to your next cocktail party? Freeze small blossoms into ice cubes for extra impressive drinks.

Before you go poking around in your neighbor’s yard for next Thursday’s dinner, there are some things you should know:

  1. Always double check to be sure a flower is edible and not poisonous before you plop it onto your plate. (Have a question? Ask our Grumpy Gardener on his Facebook page. Any time, day or night. He loves answering questions!)
  2. You’ll want to make sure that any flowers you consume are organic, or have not been sprayed with any chemicals. The easiest way to make sure of this is to grow your own. But, if you do decide to buy them, try the produce section, not the garden section of your store (some stores are starting to stock boxes of edible blooms), or try online at a site like chefs-garden.com.

Here are some of our favorite edible flowers:

Marigolds
Also called poor man’s saffron, these spicy, herbal flowers can sub for tarragon in a pinch. Looking for a recipe? Try our Tarragon Chicken Salad.

Dianthus
This fragrant flower with a floral taste makes a pretty cake embellishment.

Zinnias
Bitter tasting, these are best used as a garnish or mixed in with lettuces. They’re easy to grow and available in a rainbow of colors.

Bachelor’s Buttons
They have a mild grassy or clovelike flavor and are delicious in salads.

Tuberous Begonias
Their citrusy flavor is perfect for soups and salads. Warning: Only the petals are edible.

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