There are many types of edible flowers that you may want to grow. We'll talk about many of them, their flavors, and some of the ways to use them.
Favorite Edible Flowers
There are many varieties of this edible flower all of which have a licorice-like flavor that goes well with fish. You can also use the seeds, stems, and young shoots in many different culinary preparations including teas and flavoring liquors. Of course, the flowers and leaves are also great in just a salad.
Like the "anise" in its name would suggest, anise hyssop has a nice sweet, licorice flavor, almost like root beer. It is also popular in asian cooking.
The red flowers of bee balm have a minty flavor that works well in salads. The leaves can also be eaten and taste similar to Earl Gray tea.
Borage is a wonderful edible flower to get started with. It has a very pleasant light cucumber taste and the flowers themselves are small and lavender colored. The petals are great in chilled drinks and cold soups.
Depending on the variety of calendula these golden orange edible flowers can range from spicy to tangy, bitter to peppery. It is also known as "poor man's saffron". They are excellent in more savory, hot dishes such as soups and rice. Used in moderation they are also good in salads. Added to food with liquids they can lend a lovely yellow hue to the food.
The edible buds of the cilantro plant taste very similar to the commonly used leaves. The flowers can be used in salsas, salads or other latino food but lose their flavor quickly if heat is applied.
Good Edible Flowers
These are known as flowering Onions. They include some staples like chives, garlic, and leeks as well as over 400 other types of flowering plants. We'll talk about some of the better ones in their own specific sections.
Apple blossoms have a very light floral aroma and taste to them. They are very good with fruit dishes. With their sturdy structure they are also easy to candy for garnishes. Edible apple flower blossoms should be eaten in moderation due to cyanide precursors.
The black and white flowers have a spicy, almost nutty, flavor to them.
These edible florets have a nice mild, onion flavor to them.
Garlic blossoms taste similar to the garlic bulb except much more mild. They are great in salads.
Like many edible flowers, basil blossoms taste similar to the variety of basil they are from. Some of the more exotic basils have wonderful flavor, such as the lemon or mint varieties.
Once the head of broccoli becomes mature the flower buds on it open up to reveal tons of edible small yellow flowers. These edible flowers have a mild, almost spicy, broccoli flavor to them and are excellent in salads and stir-fries.
Very similar to borage, the edible burnet flowers have a mild cucumber flavor to them.
These common flowers are spicy, peppery and a little like cloves. Be sure to eat only the petals as the white base of the flower is very bitter.
This flowers of this popular tea plant has a faint apple flavor.
The edible flowers of this popular herb have a nice, mild anise flavor to them. Because it is so mild be sure to use the petals when they are fresh and add them to cooked meals at the end of the cooking period.
Similar tasting to endive, the chicory buds have an earthy-bitter taste to them. The buds are also often pickled.
A slightly bitter, tangy taste is common is more varieties of edible chrysanthemum flowers. The petals and leaves are often used to flavor vinegar. You can also blanch the flowers to remove some of the bitterness if you are eating them raw.
The younger the flower buds are the more tender and honey-like they will be. If you pick the flower buds when they are young and fry them in olive oil they taste very similar to mushrooms. Dandelions have also been used in the past to make wines.
Miniature carnations. Slightly clove or nutmeg like.
The edible flowers of the common herb dill have a stronger flavor than their leaves. Just use the flowers in any dishes you would use the herb itself in.
Well, You CAN Eat These...
While banana blossoms can be very good, they are often a lot of work. Used heavily in Southeast Asian dishes they are normally removed of their tough outside coating so the inner, tender part of the blossom can be reached. The inner blossom is then sliced and soaked in water until the majority of the sap is gone.
Most of the citrus plants have a similar waxy, highly scented flower. They are very pungent and should be used sparingly. However, the petals, especially orange blossoms, are often used to make flavored waters.
The edible flowers of the clover plant have a sweet licorice flavor to them. When eaten raw they can be difficult to digest.
Cornflower petals have a sweet-spicy, clove flavor. While they can be eaten they are more commonly used for garnish.
Fairly bitter, the flowers and plant are edible and are good when added in moderation to salads.
The edible day lily flowers taste almost like sweet lettuce. Unfortunately, not only are many day lilies not edible, they all act as laxatives and should be consumer in moderation.
* Only the petals of these composite flowers are edible. The pollen of composite flowers is highly allergenic and may cause reactions in sensitive individuals. Sufferers of asthma, ragweed, and hayfever should not consume composite flowers, and may have extreme allergies to ingesting any flowers at all.