Edible flowers have made their way back into our plates. They have been part of our diet for thousands of years, and the practice seems to be picking up once again. Many restaurants now use petals to add color, uniqueness, and flavor to food and drinks. But, it’s not just the restaurants. This spring, you can play with flowers in unexpected ways: on your menu. After finding out where to buy edible flowers add them to your recipes and desserts and enjoy pure colorful nature in ways you never imagined.
Where to Buy Edible Flowers
There are four ways to source your favorite edible flowers:
- grow them yourself,
- find them at the farmers’ market,
- buy them at grocery stores,
- order online
The first option is the best since you are guaranteed fresh picks every day. You can plant your flowers without using harmful chemicals or fertilizers. However, to do so, you need space, and this might not always be possible.
So, your second-best option is to find edible flowers at your local farmers’ market. You’ll find fresh and more interesting options than what you can find at the grocery store. Plus, you can talk to the vendors to make sure that their crops haven’t been sprayed by pesticides or chemicals and are, therefore, safe to eat.
If the farmers’ market isn’t nearby, check for edible flowers in the produce section, not the florist section, of your local grocery store. Alternatively, you can order them online.
Shops like Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, Marx Foods, Chef’s Garden, and Melissa’s will ship fresh flowers directly to you overnight. If you’re in the UK, check out Greens of Devon.
How to Clean and Store Edible Flowers
Just like any other food, edible flowers should be thoroughly washed to remove dirt. However, due to their delicate nature, handle them gently.
- Shake the flowers to remove any insects or excess dirt.
- In a large bowl of cold water, gently wash the flowers and drain.
- Let them air-dry on a paper towel-lined tray.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container, lined with damp towels, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
How to Use Edible Flowers
You can use edible flowers in a variety of ways. They make great toppings on cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. They are also perfect in salads, in cocktails, or on top of toast.
Another impressive idea is to add colorful flowers to ice cubes at a party. Simply fill an ice cube tray about a quarter to half of the way up with water, and then add blooms face-down to each cube and freeze. For clear ice, use distilled water. Herbs, citrus, and berries work well with this technique.
Edible Flowers to Try
Typically, edible flowers taste like they smell. You may have to experiment with different kinds to find what you like. The important thing to consider is that not all flowers are edible. Here, we list flowers that are 100 percent safe to eat and can be used in different recipes:
Lavender. Lavender flowers can be violet, blue, or lilac and have a very strong floral flavor, and are heavily perfumed. Use it in baked goods, desserts, teas, or cocktails.
Basil. Basil flowers are aromatic and tangy. The tiny white or purple flowers can be pinched off the stem and used in salads to add a unique mild flavor.
Marigold. They have a faint citrus flavor and can be yellow or orange, and are available in different sizes. Use in salads.
Dill. The flowers have a stronger dill flavor compared to the leaves and seeds. They taste sour, with notes of parsley and mild anise. They add a crunch texture to fish or salads.
Jasmine. They are extremely fragrant and very sweet. Use in teas or desserts.
Lilac. Very fragrant and are perfect in sweets and baked goods.
Mint. These tiny flowers pack a strong minty punch. They can be used in teas, pesto, and Middle Eastern dishes.
Pansies. The flowers can be white, purple, pink, yellow, or multi-colored. They have a light, sweet flavor. You can sweeten them with sugar and put them on cakes or cookies.
Pea. Pea flowers are delicate and taste like young peas. They can be candied or added to salads. They are also great in a stir-fry. Warning: Pea flowers are edible, Sweet pea flowers are poisonous.
Rosemary. These flowers taste like the herb and can be added to sauces or meat. You can also add them to butter or as a garnish.
Strawberry. Strawberry blossoms are tiny and available in pink or white. They have a mild strawberry taste and can be floated in drinks to garnish baked goods.
Hibiscus. Hibiscus flowers are tart and sweet and are often used in salads and teas. Dried hibiscus flowers can be added to ice cream to add a gorgeous color.