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Are Broccoli Flowers Edible?

If you try to make the most of your plants and eat all that you can of a harvest, you might be wondering, “Are broccoli flowers edible?” It’s a great question, so let’s explore the answer. If you’re a broccoli lover, you may already know about the many ways to prepare and eat this veggie. Like brussels sprouts, this green, leafy vegetable is also good for you. Many people love this green cruciferous vegetable, part of the cabbage family, prepared in any form. If you’re a gardener, you know that broccoli plants sprout yellow flowers before they go to seed. Can you eat these broccoli flowers?

Broccoli flowers are edible, and many people consider them delicious. You can eat them raw or cooked, making them tasty additions to any salad and stir-fry. You should avoid steaming them because it causes them to wilt and ruins the texture. Some upscale markets sell the flowers as a delicacy.

broccoli flowers

There are many parts to a broccoli plant. It has sided shoots, flower buds, flower heads, the main head, and broccoli leaves. Most people know you can eat the leaves and main head of this veggie, but you might be wondering if you can eat those bright yellow flowers once they bloom. This happens when you allow your broccoli to bolt before you’ve harvested it. 

Learn more about growing broccoli.

The unfortunate part of allowing your broccoli to bolt is that the vegetable loses nearly all its nutritional value once it flowers. It’s edible, but your body won’t benefit much from it. But if you’re a “waste not, want not” kind of person, go ahead and eat the blooms. Your tastebuds might be surprised at the new experience.

All Parts of Broccoli Can Be Eaten

broccoli plant growing in the grden

First, know that the stalks, leaves, and the blossoms of broccoli plant are edible. However, some people find the base of the stem to be too woody tasting for them, so they trim it off.

The tiny yellow flowers you start to see on broccoli plants as the weather gets warmer are another part people often wonder if you can eat. Traditional broccoli recipes call for just the head or stem of the broccoli. There is baby broccoli as well as big, leafy greens. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin c and vitamin a. It also contains beta carotene. Overall, it is a tasty and healthy part of any balanced diet. 

You can enjoy them like mustard greens and collard greens. You can use larger heads for some recipes and just the broccoli stems for other recipes. And there are many health benefits to all types of broccoli, giving you even more reasons to eat it. If you’ve only ever picked it up from the grocery store before, you may not realize what broccoli looks like throughout its different life cycles and growth stages. This is why a lot of people don’t even realize that broccoli blooms, or that it can turn yellow. 

Broccoli Flowers Are Edible

pretty yellow broccoli flowers

Do you see bright yellow broccoli flowers coming off your broccoli? Flowers shoot up from the mature broccoli heads when it gets hot in mid and late summer. The best way to avoid this is to harvest your broccoli before the hot weather comes.

It can also happen prematurely if the conditions are unsuitable for the plant’s requirements. The blossoms are white or yellow and have four petals laid out in the shape of a cross. They have a mild, vegetable-like aroma.

Are you interested in more flowers that are edible? Check out the edible flower garden – a book about many edible flowers and a few recipes to make with them.

What do broccoli flowers taste like?

The flowers have a similar taste to the leaves, and the broccoli florets themselves, albeit milder. The flavor is a combination of sweet and peppery. Broccoli flowers are not to everyone’s taste, and some find them bitter with a grainy texture. Others describe these blossoms as having a nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture.

How to select the best broccoli flowers

The whole broccoli head can be considered a flower. It consists of tightly packed buds that form the green broccoli florets. If left unharvested, each bud will develop into a small, yellow blossom, which will become a broccoli seed if fertilized.

The entire broccoli plant is edible and flowers in summer and fall. To get the best quality, pick the blossoms during the coolest time of the day, preferably early in the morning. Select young flowers that are not yet fully open. They should still look very bright and fresh.

Always pick the broccoli flowers on the day you want to use them, three to four hours before you need them. To store the blossoms, place them between sheets of moist paper towels or in a plastic bag, and pop them in the refrigerator until needed. Rinse them gently before adding them to the meal.

How to Serve Broccoli Flowers

You can serve the broccoli flowers raw on their own or with the stalks and florets. It is also acceptable to cook the flowers, but then it is best to use the buds that are only barely open because they are sturdier and can withstand the heat better. Flowers quickly wilt when cooked.  Use broccoli rabe and some flowers in a salad, too (here’s a broccoli salad to try). Some broccoli produces lots of leaves and you can use these in recipes. 

Broccoli flowers go well in salads

Have you tried adding some broccoli flowers to your salads? Broccoli flowers have a peppery taste and add a bit of zing to salads. A boring green salad will come to life with the tang of broccoli blossoms scattered here and there. They pair well with almost any salad vegetable. The yellow blooms make a great addition to slaws too.

Salads don’t have to be confined to recipes. It’s more a case of what you have available in your refrigerator or garden that decides what can be included. This includes a broccoli salad, which makes a delicious summer side. Here is an off-the-cuff broccoli salad you can assemble from typical refrigerator ingredients. Nothing is off-limits.

Stir-fry some finely chopped onion, and garlic. Add it to your blanched broccoli florets, cubed cheddar cheese, toasted nuts, or pine nuts. Use your favorite dressing or some mayonnaise. Don’t overdose on the mayonnaise, or it will be too rich. Some people also like to add raisins, peppers, or capers. Don’t forget to add the broccoli flowers for a bit of extra spice.

Other great pairings for broccoli flowers

Their peppery taste also complements and balances the rich flavors of cheeses and smoked meats. They go particularly well with Parmesan, Swiss, and Cheddar cheeses. The blossom also pairs very well with these ingredients:

  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Mustard
  • Onion
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Leeks
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Capers
  • Anchovies

Flowers used as a garnish must always be edible. You can use broccoli flowers as an edible garnish for almost any dish. They work brilliantly when added to a charcuterie board, pairing wonderfully with these boards’ typical cheeses and meats.

Broccoli blossoms also make the perfect garnishes when serving soups, stews, quiches, pasta, or potato salads. It adds to the aesthetics and makes for a crunchy, tangy snack on the side.

The little yellow flowers add a spot of spice and color to stir-fries, but you should only add them to the food just before serving, using those that are only slightly open. They will bear the heat better and retain some of their crunchiness, whereas the fully open blooms will quickly wilt. Cooking them for too long will also diminish their flavor.

You can use broccoli flowers in a green smoothie or tea if you love health drinks. Broccoli tea is a diuretic and a great cleansing drink. Freeze-dried broccoli sprout powder is available to make this cleansing drink, but you can also steep the flowers and other parts for 5-7 minutes. You can drink it warm or serve it as iced tea.

More edible vegetable flowers

Many of the veggies in your garden produce edible flowers if you let them bloom. Here are just a few of my favorites. If you click on the links below, you’ll see many ways to use each of those edible flowers.

Are Broccoli Flowers Edible – FAQs

Here are some questions people often have related to broccoli flowers. 

What does it mean when broccoli has yellow flowers? 

Lack of water and heat start to make your broccoli bitter and tough and it doesn’t taste as good to eat. You should harvest it and the yellow flowers before the weather gets too warm. If it’s already flowering and turning yellow-brown, it’s too late to avoid this bitter taste. You will have tough broccoli with tough outer skin, but it’s perfectly safe to eat every part of a plant that has started to turn yellow and flower. You can still eat all parts of the broccoli, including the flowers, but the flavors will be different. 

Can broccoli last two weeks?

Typically, no. Unless it is frozen, properly stored broccoli lasts about three to five days in the refrigerator and raw broccoli that is chopped will only last about two days. Use it or lose it!

Can you eat broccoli with yellow flowers?

Yes. Even once your broccoli has those yellow flowers, you can still harvest it and eat it. Again, it will have a bitter taste but all parts of the plant are edible, even the flowers. 

Are broccoli flowers poisonous? 

Not only can you eat broccoli once it starts to flower, but you can eat the flowers, too! They are not poisonous. Many people find these edible flowers to be delicious. 

Does broccoli grow twice?

Usually, broccoli can be harvested two or three times before it is done. The first plant will create a large center head. Once that is cut back, the plant can produce smaller heads for up to a few weeks. So yes, broccoli will grow back after you harvest it. You will also see that side shoots continue to grow after the main head is harvested.  You should harvest these side shoots when they reach the ideal color and firmness you like in your fresh broccoli. 

In Conclusion, Are Broccoli Flowers Edible?

As you can see, you can eat the flowers of the broccoli plant. If you love growing your own produce, broccoli is one of the best vegetables to include in your garden. The whole plant is edible, including the pretty yellow flowers. This is good news because when your plant has bolted, you can still get some benefit from the blooms.

They are peppery and crunchy, making excellent additions to salads, charcuterie boards, and stir-fries. Broccoli flowers make dainty and beautiful garnishes for any meal. These little blossoms are tasty, and colorful, and can even be used in healthy drinks. It’s great that there’s still so much goodness left in the plant, even when it’s on its last legs. A head of broccoli can go a long way and it’s one of my favorite nutritious vegetables you can easily grow at home. 

Do you have any uses for broccoli flowers that we didn’t list here? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Are Broccoli Flowers Edible?

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