you can have your flowers, and eat them, too!

photo by frotos

Good, you’re here! Just in time for lunch.

Today, we’re featuring some beautiful May flowers on the menu. It seemed like a perfectly mad idea, since most of us are used to flowers as either table decoration or garnishes on dessert.

What’s that? You say you’d rather look at flowers, smell them, maybe wear them, rather than actually eat them? Me too! Somehow it just seems wrong, doesn’t it, to bite into a blossom?

Apparently, people do it all the time, and I’m thinking, maybe I need to get over myself and munch on a marigold. After all, flowers have been incorporated in foods for thousands of years in Roman, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures. The first recorded recipe was by a Roman named Apicius for eating brains with rose petals. *scrunch face*

Not exactly what I’m craving right about now, but wait a minute! Maybe I’m not as conservative as I thought. I’ve had jasmine tea, and lots of artichokes, cauliflowers, broccoli, capers, and lilybuds. When you consider flowers infused in oils, those used to make wines, spirits and vinegars, or the whole gamut of dried or frozen herbs, most of us actually consume flowers without really thinking about it. But I guess it’s not the same as eating fresh orchids with avocado, is it?

photo by Laura Hartrich

Would you perhaps prefer some cauliflower soup with chive blossoms? 

photo by bricolage.108

Or some Flower Power Pizza?

photo by windattack

For dessert, you can either have some Flower Pot Cake (not real flowers, but so pretty I had to throw them in),

    photo by sweetie pies

or a slice of this delicious yellow cake with buttercream frosting:

photo by Dulzura Magica

Thirsty? Help yourself to some flower tea,

  Common flower teas include jasmine, rose, lotus, and chrysanthemum.
  (photo from eat-my-heart-out’s photostream)

and, if you like, cool it down with a flowery ice cube.

photo by inspiredbyeverything

There now, wasn’t that yummy?

Edible flowers can be found in some grocery stores and farmer’s markets; a typical bagged mix will include bachelor’s buttons, nasturtiums, pansies, snapdragons, and calendula. Recently, Martha Stewart offered some tips for growing your own edible flower garden, focusing mainly on a lavendar theme.

photo by rootytootoot

Always use common sense: don’t eat any flowers from florists, nurseries, or those growing by the roadside, since most will have been treated with pesticides. Also, remove the pistils and stamens; for most flowers, only the petals are edible. Flowers are meant to be eaten in small amounts; people with allergies should be especially careful. For a long time, I drank chamomile tea without realizing it’s a no-no for people with ragweed allergies.

I think I’m going to check Whole Foods for edible flowers this week. If any of you have any recipes, recommendations or experiences with edible flowers, please share! BTW, May is the perfect time to try them, since its National Salad Month!


To test your Edible Flower IQ, click here.

For a list of edible flowers, click here.

      Nibble, nibble!

*Hamster photo from knittingskwerigurl’s photostream.

30 thoughts on “you can have your flowers, and eat them, too!

  1. Enjoy some flowers this month on your plate! πŸ™‚

    Those that didn’t get killed with last night’s FROST! Believe it? We had a frost warning last night… nothing too bad though…

    Gunna be 80 on Thursday…Tell me something’s wrong with Mother Nature’s thermostat….


  2. Re: Enjoy some flowers this month on your plate! πŸ™‚

    It’s been a little crazy here, too. Colder the past few days than it should be for May — usually by now we have the AC on, but the heat still’s going . . .


  3. Thanks, Becky. I think I’m one who appreciates flowers more for their appearance and smell than their taste :), but it doesn’t hurt to try new things every once in awhile.


  4. Awww. . . the wee hamster noming the flower is so cute!

    I’ve eaten a few flowers in may time, and they’re alright. I have a recipe for a salad of orange slices with rose water and cinnamon that’s pretty darn good, come to think of it . . .


  5. Tanita Says πŸ™‚

    Oh, gorgeous, gorgeous. I have to say that I’ve eaten flowers before, and I never think they taste like much, but the beauty they add to a salad or cake — wow.

    Now, on pizza? Hm. That looks intriguing!


  6. I want some flower pot cakes! The flower teas are cool. The flower ice cubes are AWESOME. And why did I laugh at the flower power pizza? LOL.

    Thank you for this fun post, Jama. πŸ˜€

    Into the Wardrobe

    P.S. Our interview is up!


  7. I’m not sure if WF carries them everywhere, and since it’s a seasonal thing, it would be different times and places for different regions. I remember seeing them long ago in plastic containers, but not being brave enough to try them. With summer coming, maybe some of the farmer’s markets will have them.:)


  8. There are some edible flowers (drawing a blank right now and a lot of plants where various parts are edible. Once the garden is a bit more established I’ll be playing with that.

    Luckily our native people left a lot of great records about the native plants they both ate and used for various household duties. πŸ™‚


  9. At New England SCBWI, the lunches came with edible flowers (orchids, I think). I ate mine, but I was sad that most people seemed to think they were just for decoration.


  10. Wow! Spectacular. My daughter’s favorite edible flower of the moment is borage. They taste like cucumbers and the deep blue color (with occasional pink) looks stunning on a cupcake. Two summers ago, nasturtium was all the rage. –Farida


  11. I’ve heard of borage oil, but have never seen the flower. Mmmm. I like cucumbers, so maybe I should give it a try if I can find some! Nasturtiums do seem to be the most frequently mentioned edible flower.


  12. (Meant to reply to this sooner!)
    They reminded me of an onion, except much milder. Very crisp crunchy texture.
    I checked with the server first to make sure they were edible and passed on the info to everyone else at the table, so nobody thought I was weird, but then nobody joined me in eating it either!


  13. I don’t mean that the orchid tasted exactly like an onion. It was not nearly that strong, and the resemblance was mostly in the texture. It’s hard to describe because it doesn’t taste quite like anything else. But it’s not a sweet taste, which I think we’re conditioned to expect from flowers.
    I’d say, if you ever have one on your plate, take a bite to see if you like it!


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