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Edible Flowers

Need to decorate a cake?
Spruce up an entrée or add some color to a fresh salad?
Here are some flowers that are edible and can be used to add that special elegance


Calendula (Calendula officinalis) - Also called Marigolds. A wonderful edible flower. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as Poor Man’s Saffron). Has pretty petals in golden-orange hues. Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads. Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs.

Carnations, (SWEET WILLIAM) (Dianthus caryophyllus - aka Dianthus) - Carnations can be steeped in wine, candy, or use as cake decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Dianthus are the miniature member of the carnation family with light clove-like or nutmeg scent. Petals add color to salads or aspics. Carnation petals are one of secret ingredients that has been used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur, since the 17th century.

Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium) - Tangy, slightly bitter, ranging in colors from red, white, yellow and orange. They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. They sould be blanched first and then scatter the petals on a salad. The leaves can also be used to flavor vinegar. Always remove the bitter flower base and use petals only. Young leaves and stems of the Crown Daisy, also known as Chop Suey Greens or Shingiku in Japan, are widely used in oriental stir-fries and as salad seasoning.

Clover (Trifolium species) - Sweet, anise-like, licorice. Raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.

Cornflower/BACHELOR BUTTON (Centaurea cynaus) - Also called Bachelor’s button. They have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor. Bloom is a natural food dye. More commonly used as garnish.

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) - Also called Sweet Rocket or Dame's Violet. This plant is often mistaken for Phlox. Phlox has five petals, Dame's Rocket has just four. The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also  includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The flowers are attractive added to green salads. The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens (for culinary purposes, the leaves should be picked before the plant flowers). The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads. NOTE: It is not the same variety as the herb commonly called Rocket, which is used as a green in salads.

Hollyhock
: Mixed colors. Very showy edible garnish.

Johnny Jump Up
:  Wintergreenish flavor . Nice garnish but does contain a toxin so use sparingly.

Nasturtium
: Orange/yellow. Great for use in salads and as garnish with meats or soups. Spicy, peppery taste.

Marigold: Yellow. Slightly bitter taste.


Herbs

Borage (Borago officinalis) - Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms and leaves have a cool, faint cucumber taste. Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.

Chicory
(Cichorium intybus) - Earthy flavor, eat either the petals or the buds. Chicory has a pleasant, mild-bitter taste that has been compared to endive. The buds can be pickled.

Chamomile (Chamaemelum noblis)- The flowers are small and daisy-like and have a sweet, apple-like flavor. NOTE: Drink chamomile tea in moderation as it contains thuaone; ragweed sufferers may be allergic to chamomile.

Dill (Anethum) - Tangy; like their leaves, but stronger. Use yellow dill flowers as you would the herb to season hot or cold soups, seafood, dressings, and dips. The seeds are used in pickling and baking.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) - It has a star-burst yellow flowers that have a mild anise flavor. Use with desserts or cold soups, or as a garnish with your entrees.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) - Flowers are a milder version of plant's leaf. Use as you would the herb.

Mint (Mentha spp)- The flavor of the flowers are minty, but with different overtones depending on the variety. Mint flowers and leaves are great in Middle Eastern dishes.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) - Milder version of plant's leaf. Use as you would the herb.

Thyme (Thymus spp.) - Milder version of leaf. Use sprigs as garnish or remove flowers and sprinkle over soups, etc. Use thyme anywhere a herb might be used.)

Use great caution when eating plants with which you are unfamiliar. Some people may be sensitive to various flowers so use sparingly.  Used as a garnish the above flowers are safe and will add great “presentation”. Do not use any plant that has been sprayed for bugs or treated with systemic insect repellant.