Long ago, flowers were more than a pretty sight and smell. They were used as ancient medicines, in rituals, and in traditional meals. We eat other plants, why shouldn’t flowers be on that list? While dining on flowers isn’t often met with the importance it used to be, there actually are endless culinary uses for them, such as in desserts, drinks, teas, on salads, and as garnishes. If you’ve participated in #MishSenses, you may already have flowers on the mind!
Here are 12 different edible flowers and their characteristics. Choosing favorites depends on your preference for flavor, scent, and aesthetic. Some flowers are used in dishes because of their pungent aroma, potential medicinal purpose, taste, or just their beautiful appearance… The choice is yours!
Somewhat bitter and spicy—but known to have a range of flavors.
Contains antioxidant properties and is great in teas (such as dandelion root tea). Has a slight honey-like flavor.
Loved for its aroma and “flowery” taste, rose is used in desserts and drinks. Only the petals are edible.
Also has a strong floral fragrance and sweet taste; often used in desserts.
Pansy, Viola wittrockiana
Subtle, mild flavor, so it’s great for salads or used as a garnish.
Carnation, Dianthus caryophyllus
Sweet and aromatic with a lovely appearance that makes it a great garnish. It can turn from sweet to bitter quickly.
Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla
Long touted for its medicinal benefits, chamomile has a sweet flavor, is often used in tea, and of course, soothes and relaxes. You can also use the petals and leaves to top a salad. It looks a lot like a daisy, so it makes your meal pretty, too!
Hibiscus has that distinctive tangy flavor, is most often used in tea, and recent studies suggest it may have cardiovascular and other health benefits.
Sweet with hints of mint and rosemary; an overall strong flavor with many uses.
Lilac, Syringa vulgaris
Fragrant and floral with citrusy tones.
Garlic Chive, Allium tuberosum
In the onions/leeks/garlic/chives family, but has a lighter, sweeter smell and is pretty as a garnish.
English Daisy, Bellis perennis
Often used as a garnish, it can be eaten raw or cooked, and is believed to have healing properties in its roots and leaves.
When consuming flowers, always do your research—avoid flowers or flower parts that aren’t safe to eat or those that have been treated with pesticides.
Have you dabbled in flower tasting before? Let me know!