Add a touch of elegance to your dishes and desserts with edible flowers grown straight from your backyard. Many of these varieties can add a unique taste to your creations.
Remember if you aren't sure if a flower is edible, it is always best to consult a plant or medical professional before consuming.
Arugula – (Eruca vesicaria) After plants have bolted, leaves become tough and very spicy. The small, spicy, white or yellow flowers however are much milder and add a nice zing to salads.
Basil – (Ocimum basilicum) The entire bloom of the plant is edible, it offers a similar but milder flavour to the leaves.
Begonia – Tuberous (Begonia x tuberhybrida) and wax (B. x semperflorens-cultorum) types have edible flowers which have a slightly bitter citrus flavour.
Bellis Perennis – (English Daisy) Has a mildly bitter flavour. Sprinkle petals onto salads or other dishes.
Calendula – (Calendula officinalis) Flavour ranges from peppery to bitter. Beautiful bright yellow, gold and orange blooms brighten up soups and salads. Some tinting may even occur in certain dishes.
Centaurea – (Centaurea cyanus) Slightly spicy, clove-like flavour and subtle sweetness. Use petals as a garnish, in salads or whole flowers in drinks.
Chamomile – (Matricaria chamomilla) Daisy-like flowers can be used fresh or dried and make a nice tea that has a gentle apple-like taste. Drink tea in moderation as allergy sufferers may have a negative response. Petals can also be sprinkled into salads and soups.
Chicory – (Cichorium endivia & C. intybus) Beautiful sky-blue flowers appear at the end of the season, petals can be pulled off and added to salads. They offer an earthy, endive-like flavour.
Chrysanthemum – Produces edible young leaves and beautiful white daisy-like flowers with vibrant yellow centres. Petals have a faintly tangy taste.
Coriander – (Coriandrum sativum) Once the plant has bolted in the summer heat, the white flowers that appear can be consumed and have an intense flavour just like the plant leaves. Use them as a garnish in place of Coriander leaves.
Dill – (Anethum graveolens) Can be used when cooking fish or raw in salads. Flowers are very small, yellow and have flavours that are often stronger than the leaves. Flowers set seed quickly so they are best used when they first open.
Fennel – (Foeniculum vulgare) Tiny attractive yellow flowers with a mild licorice flavour similar to the leaves. Use in desserts.
Impatiens – (Impatiens walleriana) Brightly colored beautiful petals add a pop of color to salads and fancy drinks and have a nice sweet taste.
Lavender – (Lavandula angustifolia) Sprinkle broken up flower clusters onto cakes or savory dishes or add a few pieces in a glass of champagne. Lavender has a sweet, intense floral flavour so use sparingly.
Marigold – Tagetes Marigold (T. tenuifolia) has a refreshing citrus-lemon flavour, the petals can be used in salads or drinks. French marigolds (Tagetes patula) and African marigolds (T. erecta) should be avoided due to their pungent scent.
Mint – All types of mint have minty-flavoured flowers that can be sweet or lemon-scented.
Nasturtium – (Tropaeolum majus) Produces edible flowers and leaves. Nasturtium offer a pleasant, sweet, peppery flavour.
Rosemary – (Rosmarinus officinalis) Though leaves contain more oil, the flowers are very similar in flavour. Use the same way you would the leaves.
Sage – (Salvia officinalis) Flowers add a mild-sage flavour to salads or savory dishes. Separate flowers from stems and use sparingly as the taste is quite strong.
Squash – Flowers of all types of zucchini, both male and female are usable and have a faint squash flavour. Use in salads or stuffed with herbs and goat cheese.