Guide to Eating Flowers

| April/May 1998

  • Edible flowers, ­including calendula, dianthus and ­Johnny jump-ups, dot this omelette like beautiful ­confetti.
  • Pineapple guava is just one of many delicious edible flowers.
    Photograph by Cathy Barash
  • Lavender and nasturtium flowers are striking among the greens of the garden or the salad plate.
    Photograph by Cathy Barash
  • Edible flowers like sage blossoms add more than just good looks to a citrus salad.
    Photograph by Cathy Barash

SidebarEdible Flowers List 

Edible Flower Recipes:

• Pork Chops with Sage Flowers
• Lilac Flower Sorbet
• Chocolate Cake with Mint Flowers
• Sautéed Portabella Mushrooms and Anise Hyssop Florets
• Chive Blossom Broad Beans 

More: How to Candy Flowers 

I remember eating flowers as a small child. I recall the pure, sweet flavor of a rose petal and the clovelike spiciness of a dianthus flower plucked from the garden. My father, who had shown me how to suck the sweet nectar from wild honeysuckle blossoms, was nonetheless upset when he caught me eating garden flowers. He didn’t realize that many flowers are edible and, in fact, have been esteemed as food throughout the world for millennia.

Far more flowers show up on dinner plates now than they did ten years ago, when I first started working with edible flowers. Edible flowers are found in restaurants from coast to coast, featured in magazines, and included in cookbooks, but most people still regard them only as garnishes. Rarely are flowers appreciated for their unusual, varied flavors.

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