Tasty Blooms! Edible Flower Garden Tips and Recipes

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

We’ve all seen the trending posts and photos of brightly colored blooms as garnishes, in salads and piled on top of cakes. It might seem like a new thing to do, but people have been eating flowers for over 2,000 years!

If you look for edible flowers in specialty markets, they’re very expensive. They don’t stay fresh for very long, so the cost of transporting them is high. But growing an edible flower garden yourself will have three benefits: very low cost, delicious and chemical-free blossoms, and the bonus of having extra beauty in your yard!

Flower-topped cupcakes

Some flowers are delicious eaten fresh, others like squash blossoms are often served fried. Delicate blooms like Johnny Jump-up and other violas can be candied and used to decorate fancy desserts. Consider trying one or two of the recipes below in the next meal you serve and watch the delight and surprise on the faces of your family and guests!

To harvest flowers for eating, pick them in the morning so they’ll have the highest water content. Remember to remove the stamens before you use them since their pollen can detract from the flavor.

To bring that color from the garden and onto your plate, here’s a handy list of edible blooms along with what they taste like and how to best use them. (Click on the underlined plant names to learn more!) Scroll all the way down to find recipes!

Anise Hyssop – light licorice flavor is fantastic fresh or dried and made into tea.

Bachelor’s Buttons – have a mild, slightly sweet and spicy flavor. Great as a garnish or sprinkled on a  salad.

Borage – very delicate, sweet flavor like cucumber. These bright blue flowers are lovely frozen in ice cubes or added to salads.

Borage Flowers

Calendula – also know as “poor man’s saffron”.  When sauteed in olive oil the saffron flavor is released.

Chives (and Garlic Chives) – The pretty pompom blooms are oniony and flavorful.

Johnny-Jump-Up (Viola) these have a mild, pea-like flavor. Beautiful when used fresh in a salad. Try making candied blooms to use on sugar cookies or on tea cakes.


Lavender – these have a floral, perfume flavor that is quite intense. When used sparingly they add amazing flavor to baked goods and add a fun unexpected color to lemonade. Try the simple recipe at the bottom of the page!

Nasturtium – These colorful blooms have a radishy, peppery bite. The leaves and green seed pods are also edible. Most often used in salad, where their flavor pairs perfectly with greens.

Okra – These stunning flowers are very mild in flavor, and can be served cooked or fresh.

Okra Flower

Pansy – Their slightly grassy, minty flavor is delicious in fruit salad, or as a garnish atop a cracker with cream cheese.

Pea Flowers (Edible peas, NOT sweet peas) – The flowers on pea plants taste like…well, peas. 🙂 Perfect for green salads, and garnish on cucumber tea sandwiches.


Squash blossoms – Do you always have too much zucchini? Limit your harvest by gathering the huge blooms (both male and female are edible) and serve a gourmet meal of deep fried flowers. See recipe below!

Zucchini Blossoms


Lavender Lemonade  –  Serves 8

2 cups boiling water, 1 cup lavender flowers, 2 cups cold water, 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar.        Place lavender in your pitcher and pour boiling water over it. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and discard lavender, return liquid to pitcher. Add cold water, lemon juice, and sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour over ice to serve.

Candied Violas  –  Serves 12

Take a large bunch of Johnny-jump-up, violas or pansies. (Not African violets!) It’s easier if you keep the stems on. Beat 2 large egg whites until frothy. Hold each flower by the stem and dip in egg white. Then dip in sugar (superfine works best, but regular will do.) Make sure all the petal surfaces are covered. Place on baking sheets lined with waxed paper and snip off stems. Use a toothpick to open up the blooms, so they’re in their original shape. Sprinkle sugar on any uncoated areas. Place in 200* oven for 30-40 minutes until the sugar crystalizes.  Remove carefully to a wire rack with a spatula. Sprinkle with more sugar if they appear syrupy. Let cool, and store in airtight container with waxed paper between layers.

Fried Squash Blossoms  –  Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

1- 1/3 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 12oz can of cold plain seltzer, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 10-12 squash blossoms with stamens removed.   Place oven rack in the middle position and heat to 200*. In a bowl combine flour with salt.  Add seltzer and stir to blend. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  When a drop of batter sizzles in the pan it’s ready. Holding the stem, dip a blossom in the batter and swirl to coat.  Drag the blossom over the edge of the bowl to remove excess batter. Gently lay in pan. Repeat with 4-5 more, without overcrowding the pan. Cook about 2 minutes, until they’re light golden brown on the bottom. Turn with tongs and cook 2 minutes more. Remove to paper towels, sprinkle with a little more salt and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining blossoms.


Copyright 2018 Everwilde Farms

Leave a Reply