edible flowersFlowers are a universal symbol of beauty. We cut summer zinnias for bouquets, offer roses as a symbol of love and appreciation, and plant seeds to bloom for backyard color and food for birds. (Here in the desert we’re lucky to have hummingbirds grace our landscapes most of the year, darting from flower to flower for nectar.)

But flowers – as many cooks know – offer a delicious role to play in the kitchen, both sweet and savory.

Our friends at Renee’s Garden have put together an article rich with ideas on how to use flowers in the kitchen. While we are used to eating the unopened buds of flowers like artichokes, the blossoms of many pretty and popular plants are also edible and good tasting. Well-known edible flowers include roses, nasturtiums and squash. And don’t dismay when many of your herbs start to produce flowers because those flowers – from arugula, cilantro, thyme, dill, basil, sage and lavender  – add flavor and beauty to a variety of dishes. Read on for tips and recipes. 

One note: When using flowers as food please remember to choose only varieties that you are certain are completely edible and to choose flowers that have not been sprayed with anything toxic  – your best choices may come from your own garden. Plus, you’ll want to be aware of possible allergic reactions to pollen.