Edible Flowers: What Are They And How To Grow Them

Many of us are wary of the thought of eating flowers, even though they appear stunning when posted on social media.

During the recent lockdowns worldwide, searches for “edible flowers” skyrocketed, with individuals primarily looking for information on where to get them. But edible flowers are hard to come by.

It’s important to note that just because a flower is edible doesn’t mean you should consume it or that it tastes great. Therefore, it’s essential to do your research before you start eating certain flowers.

Don’t add edible flowers from a bouquet or a shop in your desserts or salads because they could be contaminated. Instead, try to source certified and trusted providers.

Let’s take a look at some of the common questions about edible flowers.

What Are Edible Flowers That You Can Grow?

There are many edible flowers that you can grow yourself. Some will surprise you for sure. They include:

  • Prickly Pear Dandelion
  • Lavender-scented Geranium
  • Pansies
  • Roses
  • Daylily
  • Lavender
  • Chive flowers
  • Squash Blossoms

These flowers are relatively easy-to-grow and, in some cases, highly nutritious. The Dandelion is an edible flower often mistaken for a weed because of how simple it is to grow. They can be eaten raw and provide an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K.

Don’t forget the blossoms from vegetables and herbs can be consumed too in most cases. Courgette, chive, and wild garlic flowers are a great addition to salads. 

Borage and Marigold flowers are also edible, and Borage has even been used for medicinal purposes for dilating blood vessels and as a sedative. In addition, both of these plants self-seed in abundance in most gardens giving you a potentially endless supply of them.

But remember to always do some research before consuming, to be on the safe side.

yellow dandelion flower
Dandelions are highly nutritious. Photo by Daniel Absi on Pexels.com

How To Make Flower Ice Cubes That Are Safe To Eat?

Flower ice cubes are a fun way to consume flowers and a real conversation starter with your friends and family. You can eat them or add them to your drinks for that extra taste.

To make them add a very minimal amount of water to an ice cube tray. Then place them in the freezer. Separately freeze the flowers to preserve their freshness.

Finally, after the ice cubes have frozen firm to the bottom layer, add the flowers and cover them with water. Freeze right away.

Freezing your flowers is a terrific technique to save them for later in the year. Flowers, as we all know, come and go so quickly; some are only in bloom for a matter of weeks at a time. However, they will keep for longer if you keep them in the freezer.

edible flower ices cubes purple flower ice
Edible flower ice cubes are a show stopper. Credit: Wenderley

What Are The Best Flowers To Use In Cakes That Can Be Eaten?

Edible flowers provide the perfect finishing touches for desserts and cakes.

Dianthus, Lavender, and rose petals can complement most cakes for decorative purposes. Cornflowers can also be a suitable choice because of their mild flavor, which doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

Unleash your creativity, and you can get exceptional results by adding certain flowers to your cakes.

Is It Necessary To Wash Flowers Before Eating Them?

Generally, once you have cut off flowers, they are too delicate to be cleaned. Once chopped, they should be kept in a cold, dark location for a few hours before use.

Pick the flowers still closed to get the most out of them. Then, they will continue to open when placed on the dish or cake.

What Kind Of Flowers Can You Use In Salads?

If you want to decorate the salad, there are several options. Florals with little or no taste can be used to garnish the dish.

Primroses and cornflowers are among the best flowers to give your salad the “wow” factor.

You can also get the best of both worlds by adding flavor and color to your dish. You can add these edible flowers by adding wild garlic, nasturtiums, or even chive flowers while improving the taste.

a summer salad with green leaves primrose orange red and raspberries
A summer salad with edible flowers.

Is It Possible To Eat Flowers That Are Beneficial For Your Body?

Flowers can be added to your diet in the same way as fruit and vegetables. You can think of them as just another kind of food. The same vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can be found in them.

Always research which flowers you can eat safely and what nutrients they can provide your body.

If you’re looking for medicinal benefits (check out our list of medicinal herbs here), you need to consume a significant amount of flowers because they are so petite. This is not recommended.

However, generally speaking, there are no adverse effects from eating these beneficial flowers. If you are pregnant or on other medications, you don’t need to be concerned most of the time. However, please consult a doctor if you have a medical condition before consuming flowers.

A nice flowery salad with greens and tomatoes
A nice flowery salad with greens and tomatoes

Which Flowers Are Safe To Eat And Which Are Poisonous?

As we stated throughout this article, it is essential to do your research before eating a particular flower. Some flowers can be poisonous, and you obviously don’t want to make that mistake.

For example, with rhubarb, you must understand which parts are safe to eat and which are poisonous.

The rhubarb stalk is safe to eat and is often added to classic dishes like rhubarb and custard. However, the leaves of rhubarb are toxic.

Two potentially harmful flowers that should never be used in food are daffodils and rhododendrons.

landscape photography of field covered with yellow flowers
Daffodils are poisonous. Photo by Takao Numata on Pexels.com

Is It Necessary For Edible Flowers To Be Certified Organic?

Does the use of harmful sprays on edible flowers pose a risk? As a general rule, flowers that you’ve received in a bouquet or that you purchased at a supermarket should not be eaten.

They may have been exposed to chemicals that will have a detrimental effect on you. For example, many bouquets have been sprayed with a potentially harmful spray to reduce their opening rate.

To grow flowers for eating and garnishing, you can either sow them yourself, buy them as organic plants, or snip off all the flowers and buds when you purchase them directly. 

Don’t eat flowers or vegetables that have been sprayed with anything dangerous. If you don’t know what chemicals have been used on your flowers, avoid them altogether.

Another example to be mindful of is if you have a field nearby and are concerned about spray drift, avoid eating the flowers you produce. In addition, you should not eat any flowers within reach of a dog or cat.

man fumigating the plants
Shop flowers have been sprayed with pesticides. Photo by Laura Arias on Pexels.com

Final Thoughts About Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are something that, once you have done the necessary research, can be very beneficial. They can be used for decorative purposes and give that extra touch to your dining. The brightly colored flowers can also provide several health benefits. So start including edible flowers in your life today.

What do you think of this article on edible flowers? Let us know in the comments section below if you have any tips on how to eat them.

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