Edible Flowers for Cakes, Salads & Drinks

When it comes to edible flowers, there are literally hundreds of types you can eat. This post will give you the low-down on how to use edible flowers as garnish and the difference between fresh, candied, and dried edible flowers. Additionally, I’ll give you a ton of fun ideas for using blooms in your cooking!

As soon as spring rolls around, I find myself inspired to reach for the edible flowers. Cooking with this unusual ingredient adds style, color, and flavor to your meals. I love using flowers in everything from salads, cakes, and cocktails, and never get tired of the extra sparkle they add. 

So keep reading to discover more about using edible flower types in your home kitchen.

What flowers can you eat?

Before you head to the yard to start harvesting, it’s important that you are 100% sure a flower is edible. It is easy to confuse species, and in the worst cases, this can have serious consequences. So PLEASE, if you plan on picking your own flowers, make sure you know exactly what you are harvesting. If you are in any doubt, check out this comprehensive guide.

In addition, I recommend only using organic flowers. This will make sure you’re not consuming any unpleasant chemicals. What’s more, always wash your flowers before eating.

Types of edible flowers

Edible flowers can be dried, fresh, or candied. Because of this variety, you will find a type for every dish! Here’s a quick overview of the differences.

Fresh edible flowers

Incorporate fresh flowers into salads to add color and flavor. Freeze flowers into ice cubes to add a touch of beauty to punches and other drinks.Flavor oils, vinaigrettes, jellies, and marinades.

Dried edible flowers

It is common for flowers to be dried to preserve them. Dried edible flowers are perfect for baking, teas, and cake decorating. Also, I like to use them in the actual baking process, like in these Blueberry and Lavender Scones or Shortbread with Flowers. They can also be used to infuse drinks and syrups.

Candied or crystalized edible flowers

Sugared flowers are best suited to baking and cake decorating. They can also be made simply at home.

Tip: Flowers all have different flavors, so it’s important to match them with the food or drink they suit. Also, just because a plant is technically edible, doesn’t mean it tastes good! Chamomile flowers, for example, look gorgeous and are 100% edible, but don’t have the best flavor. For this reason, they are best suited for decoration.

Edible Flowers for Salads + Main Meals

  • Artichoke flowers: Delicious when cooked until tender.
  • Chrysanthemum, chamomile: Beautiful flowers that can be used as garnish.
  • Marigolds: Have a yummy mild lemon taste. This makes them a great option for adding color to salads. Also good for sprinkling onto any sweet or savory meals that would benefit from a boost of something mild and zesty.
  • Lavender: Great for amplifying the flavor of savory foods, like plant-based cheese.
  • Nasturtium: Has a peppery taste that makes it great for adding a pop of color to salads.
  • Sunflowers: These colorful flowers taste awesome cooked whole.
  • Violas: Very neutral taste, add pretty pops of color.
  • Zucchini flowers: Their mild flavor makes them perfect for this fried zucchini blossoms recipe.

Cakes and Baking
Lavender: Super tasty when added to cakes and scones.
Rose: Rosewater can be found in lots of cake batter and frosting recipes. Additionally, rose petals can also be used fresh or dried for decorating cakes.
Best edible flowers for garnish: butterfly pea, chamomile, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, mint, nasturtium, orchids, pansies, rose, rosemary, violas.

Edible flowers for drinks

  • Butterfly pea flowers: These have a magical coloring effect! Can be used for hot or cold tea. Also makes a good natural food coloring.
  • Hibiscus: Tastes great in cocktails as a syrup.
  • Elderflowers: A delicious way to flavor liquor.
  • Best for teas: ergamont, chamomile, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, mint, rose hips
  • Edible flowers to garnish drinks: butterfly pea, chamomile, chrysanthemum, hibiscus, mint, nasturtium, orchids, pansies, rose, rosemary, violas, violets

Syrups, ‘Honey’, Sugar & Jams

  • Honey: Dandelion, chamomile and lilacs
  • Sugar: Lavender and lilac are tasty when added to sugar crystals. Use in cocktails, sugar rimmed glasses, and cake decoration.
  • Rose hips (rosella): Makes delicious jam.
  • Rose petals: Great for making rosewater.

Start cooking pretty

Are you ready to use edible flowers into your cooking? Check out my Amazon store! It’s full of plant-based products and ingredients. From beauty tools to herbs and spices, you’ll only find quality products in my store. What’s more, I have personally vetted every brand on there. That means you can shop knowing you’re doing good for the earth.

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