5 Flowers Fit for Food

Categories: Oxi Fresh - Just for Fun

Gardeners are getting ready for spring, but many are wondering about what they should plant. Broccoli? Cabbage? Tomatoes? All of the above?

Vegetables are always a great option, but they’re not the only thing you can grow and eat. There are dozens of different flowers which are tasty, healthy and make perfect additions to your dishes. Let’s take a look at just a few.

Carnations (Dianthus Caryophyllus)
The everyman of flowers, carnations are typically seen as a pretty albeit inexpensive bouquet option. The petals of this hardworking flower have a semi-peppery flavor, akin to cloves or nutmeg (but lighter). These petals – after the bitter, white base is removed – make a great addition to salads and some deserts.

Great Article: How to Eat Carnations

Violets (Viola Species)
A traditional flower, violet petals have a gentle sweetness or mild “green” flavor akin to peas. The sweeter petals naturally lend themselves to sweet dishes – deserts, fruit salads, iced drinks, etc. Petals with the “green” flavor are excellent in salads, meat dishes or with cooked veggies.

Great Article: The Culinary Violet

Roses (Ros Rugosa / R. Gallica Officinalis)
The rule of roses is the stronger the scent, the stronger the flavor. Rose petals are sweet and aromatic, making them a wonderful “boost” for jams, honey, cupcakes and other sweets. You can also use rose petals in teas, cocktails or to make rose water.

Great Article: Roses in the Kitchen

If you already grow chives, garlic or leeks in your garden, you’re ahead of the game. Their flowers have great flavors as well, ranging from light onions to strong garlic. You can use these flowers in numerous ways, from creating unique garnishes to making fantastic soups.

Pansies (Viola X Wittrockiana)
Excellent in salads, pansy petals have a sweet green flavor. If you use the whole flower, it will have stronger overall flavor described as “wintery.”

Great Article: Tasting Pansies

Never use pesticides on flowers you plan to eat and don’t pick wild flowers for consumption. Any flowers you use should be thoroughly washed and checked for blemishes – remove any damaged petals you find. If you grow or buy flowers, check the species name and make sure they are an edible variety and not a look-a-like flower that is inedible or dangerous. You should also taste a petal from a flower before using it in a recipe, as flavor can vary from flower to flower.

Thanks to Amy Barclay de Tolly and Peggy Towbridge of About.com, The Ready Store, Linda Stradley of WhatsCookingAmerica.net, Phyllis Benson of eHow.com, Debbie Whittaker of AmericanVioletSociety.org, and Dana Velden of TheKitchn.com for the great information.