This post came about when a fellow grower on Twitter asked if anyone had any suggestions for edible flowers for her plot, to add to those she was already growing. I said I’d send her some suggestions, and after gathering together many bits of paper with scribbled lists that have been stuck in books for years and going through all my files (physical and on line) I came up with a list of edible flowers... rather a long one!
Using flowers as food is great, it adds flavour, texture and colour to meals as well as a visual ‘WOW’ factor. Obviously the same rules apply to flowers for food as does to salad and veg. crops, they need to be free from pesticides and animal poop/pee - nobody wants to eat a flower that Pedro the poodle has peed on!
You can buy edible flowers in supermarkets these days, they’re extremely popular here in France, but if you buy them to eat you need to check they’re for culinary use and not just a bunch aimed for sticking in a vase, those grown for the vase will have been heavily treated with pesticides and herbicides, definitely not what you want to be adding to your meals! That’s not to say those in the salad section won’t have been treated, they’ll just have what the food agencies deem to be an “acceptable” level of the chemicals on them. We prefer to avoid anything that’s been treated this way so either buy organic or grow our own.
It’s the same if you buy plants to grow on for edible purposes, those in supermarkets and garden centres will have been heavily treated (unless labeled to the contrary) so will need around 12 weeks of chemical free growth to be safe - do NOT eat any flowers already on bought plants.
Anyway, to the list of edibles which is compiled from 30+ years of flower eating as well as from books, magazines and websites, some I eat lots of, some, like chrysanthemums I’ve never tried, simply because I have an extreme allergy to them.
Check that all flowers/buds are free from pests and disease, and rinse thoroughly before use. It’s also a good idea to check that they’re safe for those who are pregnant, ill or very young/old just in case they’re contraindicated in those groups. Unless otherwise stated remove pistils and stamens and just use the petals of flowers.
Remember, if in doubt, leave it out! Better to be safe and not eat it if you can’t identify it properly
To see the list of edible flowers click here
Yucca - one of the many flowers on the edibles list.