Did you ever suck on honeysuckle flowers when you were a kid? We did it all the time: loved the sweet nectar we got from it! There are many flowers that can be used in cooking, and today we’ll look at several recipes using edible flowers.
Which flowers can you eat?
- In Turkey, a bottle of rose water appears on the table instead of catsup.
- Italians serve squash blossoms as a vegetable.
- In Provence, candied violets and mimosa blossoms are very popular.
- Americans and Canadians gather young, pesticide-free dandelion shoots to use in salads.
Here’s a list of 45 pretty flowers you can eat.
History of Flower Eating
Eating flowers is at least as old as the ancient Romans who celebrated the Floralia in honor of Flora, the goddess of flowers. The celebration consisted of games, mimes, and dancing. At that time, some flowers were eaten as cures for certain diseases.
According to Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, published in 1653, Pliny the Elder is said to have stated that “whosoever shall take a spoonful of the Mallows shall from that day be free from all diseases that may come to him.”
Using Floral Products
- If you use cloves, which are dried flowerets, the next time you are baking cookies or making a curry, you are using a product made from flowers.
- And those who like the taste of capers are also eating flowers, for capers are the flower buds of the caper bush.
- Saffron is made from the golden orange stigmas of the autumn crocus, so people who like saffron rice are also eating rice gilded with a flower product.
- And did you know that tulips can be eaten? They look and taste great. Wash them and remove the stigmas, then stuff with tuna salad. YUM!
Flower Recipes You Can Try
The following recipes use flowers in their fresh or dried state, or flower “waters,” such as rose or orange blossom, which are available in Middle Eastern stores.
Prepare classic French pancakes, adding honey to the batter instead of sugar. Cook the pancakes in almond oil and serve with the following syrup:
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup rose water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix sugar, corn syrup, and water and simmer for about 20 minutes. When cool, add rose water, lemon juice, and a few drops of red food coloring if desired.
Carnation butter is made from heavily scented, pesticide-free carnations, washed, with the white ends snipped off, and the seeds sifted away with a sieve and an equal quantity of soft butter. Blend carnations with the butter and spread on toast triangles. Garnish each with a carnation petal.
Books about cooking with edible flowers
If you’d like to explore more recipes using edible flowers, take a look at these books: you might find something you like.
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check your her books below: