5 Edible Flowers to Try this Spring
Now that the winter weather is finally warming up, I’m starting to see edible flowers pop up again at the farmer’s markets and in my grocery store. You probably know by now that I’m a big fan of edible flowers. They’re not only gorgeous and really add to a dish from a visual standpoint, but are packed with nutrients, vitamins and have some health benefits you may not know about.
I love nerding out when it comes to flowers but the one thing I love is using them in a way that makes sense. It’s easy to throw a flower on top of your food for looks, but I love taking advantage of not only the unique flavours each flower has, but also the health benefits. Today, I’m sharing a little bit about edible flowers and 5 of my favourite flowers that you should try especially if you’re new to munching blooms!
What makes a flower edible?
- Not all flowers are safe to eat. In fact, some flowers can be poisonous when consumed, so make sure you’re purchasing flowers specifically made to be eaten (don’t go plucking out in the neighbourhood!)
- Edible flowers are different form regular flowers because they are specifically grown to be eaten. They are grown without pesticides because you can’t really wash flowers without ruining the petals. Generic flowers are usually COVERED in pesticides.
- Some flowers are also just not that tasty. Each one has a unique flavour, so I recommend seeing which you like best!
Where to buy them:
My favourite place to buy flowers is from my local farmer who comes to my neighborhood farmer’s market. Windfall Farms is my go to if you live in NYC!
You can find flowers at:
- health food stores
- specialty grocery stores
- some Whole Foods Markets
- professional chef suppliers (can be $$$ and you may need to own an actual restaurant to purchase from them)
- farmer’s markets
5 flowers to try:
- Borage – Borage flowers are purpley blue, almost star-like shaped small flowers with a flavour similar to cucumbers in the leaves and the flower itself having a sweetness that is often described as tasting like honey.
Good for – salads, on top of creamy dishes, in summer drinks
Health benefits – borage has been used to treat UTIs and borage oil is commonly used to treat skin issues like eczema and acne
- Pansies – Pansies are of the viola family and have a slight perfume-y smell to them. They are most commonly found in yellow, blue and purple colours.
Good for – tastes really great on top of desserts, some have a bit of a minty flavour and I personally love it in combination with berries
Health benefits – high in vitamins A & C, commonly found in anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ointments
- Nasturtium – Nasturtiums are typically red, orange and yellow in colour and one of the larger varieties of flowers. They also have really cute lily-pad like leaves that are also edible. The flavour is intensely peppery, think kind of an arugula flavour profile! This one is actually so intense in flavour, that I don’t use it often myself but it’s beautiful!
Good for – salads, on top of pizza, dishes needing a peppery kick
Health benefits – high in vitamins A, C, D and iron and the leaves have antibiotic properties as well
- Calendula – Calendula has a slightly bitter, spicy flavour. I like to use them sparingly sprinkled over salads in particular and wouldn’t recommend adding this on top of your dessert. It’s slightly more mild in dried form but definitely has more of a peppery flavour.
Good for – salads, topping savoury dishes
Health benefits – has amazing anti-inflammatory properties, may help with ulcers, muscle spasms, and oral health. Calendula oil is a great moisturizer!
- Rose – Roses taste very floral–this is the best way to describe it! It has a bit of a perfume like flavor and really adds a delicate flavour to desserts, and some savoury dishes. It’s commonly used in middle-eastern dishes and can really complement both sweet and savoury dishes.
Good for – added to desserts, I especially love it with berries, and pistachios. Can also be used to mellow out savoury dishes. Also makes incredible tea.
Health benefits – calming, may assist with congestion and skin health
- Dried flower petals *bonus*
Here are some dried flowers that are really mild in flavour and great to toss onto dishes just for visuals. They’re almost like nature’s sprinkles and I love throwing them on top of sweet dishes in particular! You’ve probably seen a bunch of them all over my food photos.
Some of my most commonly used ones are: benjamin button flower petals, blue cornflower petals, dried rose petals, calendula petals, lavender buds.
Got any favourites? I had such a hard time keeping this list short, but elderflower is another favourite as well as chamomile and forget-me-not blooms, hibiscus, . I’ll stop myself here but I’m looking forward to sharing more floral content if you enjoy content like this!
Gorgeous photos taken by Pierre Lambert in the summer!
Pierre T. Lambert – Travel & Adventure Photographer YouTuber