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Foods

Flowers, edible


Why Eat It


Why Eat It

As a garnish or a salad ingredient, fresh flowers bring color, fragrance and flavor to a meal. Some, such as squash or zucchini blossoms, are large enough to be stuffed and cooked, while others--violets or pansies--simply add eye appeal and sweet scents to festive desserts or platters. Not all flowers are edible; those that are must be acquired from safe sources. If you're going to serve them as food, do not pick flowers from a pesticide-sprayed backyard or exhaust-choked roadside, or buy them from a florist. A gourmet shop or your own unsprayed garden are safe places to get edible flowers. Some farmstands or farmers' markets may offer them, too, and there are also mail-order sources for edible flowers.

Although the flowers listed here are edible, it's advisable to make them a relatively minor component of the meal--such as a salad garnish. Some flowers (like certain herbs) can have a laxative effect if eaten in quantity.

Among the more common edible flowers are: daisies, nasturtiums (which taste like watercress--the leaves as well as the flowers are eaten), geraniums, lavender, marigolds, pansies, roses, and violets. Herb flowers, such as oregano, thyme and borage, taste much like the herbs themselves. Blossoms from fruit trees--apple, peach, plum, orange and lemon--are also fragrant and delicately flavorful.


Date Published: 04/20/2005
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