Eat Your Flowers


Here we are ready to go into June. This time of year our landscape is bursting with beautiful colors from all types of flowers. Have you ever heard of Flower Cookery? Believe it or not, more and more customers are looking for and inquiring about edible flowers.

Flower cookery is ancient, so this is not a new trend. For centuries, blooms have been eaten for their symbolic, medicinal, and nutritional value. Eating flowers thrived during Roman times and was particularly prevalent in Victorian England. Ancient Romans preferred violet-flavored wine, and Europeans used candied violets on pastries and sweets. American colonists prepared Oswego tea, violet vinegar, and mutton broth with marigolds.


My biggest advice is to do your homework and research first. The reason? Not every flower is edible. Be sure to identify correctly any flower before consuming it. Secondly, never eat blooms that have pesticides or chemicals on them. Also, never pick flowers along roadsides or in areas you don’t know. Car exhaust and unknown chemicals make flowers toxic.

Squash blossoms can be stuffed or shredded and added to egg dishes. You can enhance salads with the tender leaves from dandelions. Violas, pansies, and Johnny-jump-ups are excellent in salads, desserts, and as a garnish. Among the most popular edible flowers are daylilies and nasturtiums. I think this is one reason that nasturtiums are so popular in our herb section. Teas are brewed with rose petals, bee balm, and hibiscus.

Colonial American meats often had little fat, so marigold petals were added to soups, chowders, and broths for color and flavor.


If I have your interest in eating your flowers, here are a few dos and don’ts:

  • Use delicate blossoms within a day of picking
  • Handle picked flowers carefully
  • You can store picked flowers by putting the stems in water & in the refrigerator.
  • As I mentioned earlier, know the history of the flower. Organic growers are the best to buy from. You can also grow your own, which is what I recommend.
  • Never eat a bloom that you can’t positively identify as safe.
  • Never eat flowers from pesticide-sprayed yards.
  • Don’t overdo it. Too many flowers may upset your stomach.

My advice: There are flowers for any meal, but start simply. Test them. Try them. Just maybe you, too, will be telling people to “EAT YOUR FLOWERS!”


To read more posts from Doug, visit our blog

Return to the Great Big Greenhouse homepage

Pin It on Pinterest