What flowers are edible?
As with foraging, when it comes to edible flowers, it’s vital to know how to identify different types of flowers before eating them!
It’s possible, and easy, to grow many edible flowers in your own garden, but commercial edible flowers are typically grown for the sole purpose of eating. This is so that the use of pesticides (and any other interference from animals) can be controlled.
The following flowers are edible for humans:
- Sweet violet
- Scented geraniums
- Pot marigold
How to use edible flowers
Dried edible flowers such as mallow and hibiscus come to life in syrups and cocktails. Dried lavender brings a hint of perfume to biscuits and icing. Rose petals add flair and fragrance to cakes and Middle Eastern dishes. Use the petals to top a fragrant rice pudding, or stir through pilaf rice.
Dried edible flowers such as marigold and cornflower are also great in infusions, or even sprinkled over fresh salads.
Edible dried mixed flower petals make a stunning garnish for sweet and savoury recipes. This joyful mix is blue, orange, pink, cream and lilac. Use the delicate petals to decorate a home-made wedding cake. Or add impact to tabbouleh and mixed grain salads.
Use this edible ‘confetti’ to elevate a simple leaf salad. Or sprinkle the petals over a quenelle of ice-cream for a quick dessert with impact.
Greenfields lavender imparts a floral fragrance to cakes and biscuits. Or infuse a small pinch in hot water with green tea for a soothing infusion. Also use to infuse homemade sugar syrups and custards.
Terre Exotique’s dried cornflowers are a beautiful garnish with a delicate, clove-like flavour. Their striking cobalt-blue colour means they liven-up even the simplest of dishes, from pan-fried sea bass to couscous salads.
When infused in just-boiled liquid, the dried cornflower petals release a beautiful colour and aroma. Add a pinch to infused sugar syrups for floral cocktails, marshmallows and meringues, or simply sprinkle over frosted layer cakes for an elegant decoration.
How to store edible flowers
Store dried edible flowers in a sealed container in a dry place. Try to store edible flowers in a dark place as well - too much light will make the vibrant colours fade.
You can freeze fresh edible flowers to preserve them and they will stay vibrant as long as they are frozen. However, when they defrost they will quickly lose their colour and wilt. You can still use the edible flowers to infuse syrup or tea. If you want to use edible flowers for cake decoration, it’s best not to freeze them.
Ellie Edwards is a food writer for Sous Chef. Previously she worked at olive magazine, writing about exciting new ingredients, UK restaurants and travelling the world to find the best cinnamon buns. When she's not exploring the likes of Belize, Kerala and Zanzibar, Ellie loves rustling up a feast in her London kitchen, with a particular passion for porridge, sourdough and negronis.