Alliums (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives) -
Known as the "Flowering Onions." There are approximately four hundred
species that includes the familiar onion, garlic, chives, ramps, and shallots.
All members of this genus are edible. Their flavors range from mild onions and
leeks right through to strong onion and garlic. All parts of the plants are
edible. The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves and the young
developing seed-heads are even stronger. We eat the leaves and flowers mainly in
salads. The leaves can also be cooked as a flavoring with other vegetables in
Angelica- Angelica is valued culinarily from the
seeds and stems, which are candied and used in liqueurs, to the young leaves and
shoots, which can be added to a green salad. Because of its celery-like flavor,
Angelica has a natural affinity with fish. The root lends an interesting
juniper-like flavor to breads. Often the leaves are minced and used as a part of
a court boullion to season poaching liquid. The leaves have a stronger, clean
taste and make a interesting addition to salads. In its native northern Europe,
even the mature leaves are used, particularly by the Laplanders, as a natural
fish preservative. Many people in the cold Northern regions such as Siberia and
Finland consider Angelica a vegetable, and eat the stems raw, sometimes spread
with butter, Young leaves can be made into a tea.
Anise Hyssop Both flowers and leaves have a
delicate anise or licorice flavor. Some people say the flavor reminds them of
root beer. The blossoms make attractive plate garnishes and are often used in
10.0pt; - Apple Blossoms have a delicate
floral flavor and aroma. They are a nice accompaniment to fruit dishes and can
easily be candied to use as a garnish. Eat in moderation; may contain cyanide
Arugula - An Italian green usually appreciated
raw in salads or on sandwiches. The flowers are small, white with dark centers
and can be used in the salad for a light piquant flavor. Arugula is now popular
as a gourmet salad green. Arugula resembles radish leaves in both appearance and
taste. Leaves are compound and have a spicy, peppery flavor that starts mild in
young leaves and intensifies as they mature.
Basil - Depending on the type, the flowers are
either bright white, pale pink, or a delicate lavender. The flavor of the flower
is milder, but similar to the leaves of the same plant. Basil also has different
varieties that have different milder flavors like lemon and mint. Sprinkle them
over salad or pasta for a concentrated flavor and a spark of color that gives
any dish a fresh, festive look.
Bee Balm - Wild beebalm tastes like oregano and
mint. The red flowers have a minty flavor, as Monarda is a member of the mint
family. This is a flavorful addition to salads. Any place you use oregano use bee balm
Borage - Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped
flowers. Blossoms have cool, cucumber taste. Lovely in punches, lemonade, gin
and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.
Broccoli Florets - The top portion of broccoli is
actually flower buds. Given time each will burst into a bright yellow flower,
which is why they are called florets. Small yellow flowers have a mild spiciness
(mild broccoli flavor), and are delicious in salads or in a stir-fry or steamer.
Burnet - The taste usually is likened to that
of cucumbers, and burnet can be used interchangeably with borage.
Calendula - A wonderful edible flower. Calendula
has a slightly bitter flavor, and it best used with tangier greens. Also known
as Poor Manís Saffron, adds color, nutritional, and medicinal value. Has
pretty petals in golden-orange hues. Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice
dishes, herb butters, and salads. Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads or
Carnations - Steep in wine, candy or use as cake
decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from
the bitter white base of the flower. Dianthus are the miniature member of
carnation family with light clove-like or nutmeg scent. Petals add color to
salads or aspics.
Chamomile - The flowers are small and daisy-like
and have a sweet, apple-like flavor.
Chevil - Chervil flowers are delicate white
umbels with an anise flavor. Chervil's flavor is lost very easily, either by
drying the herb, or too much heat. That is why it should be added at the end of
cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state
Chicory - Earthy flavor, eat either the petals
or the buds. Chicory has a pleasant, mild-bitter taste that has been compared to
Chive Blossoms- Use whenever a light oniony
flavor and aroma is desired. Separate the florets and enjoy the mild, onion
flavor in a variety of dishes.
Chrysanthemums- Tangy, slightly bitter, ranging
in colors from red, white, yellow and orange. They range in taste from faint
peppery to mild cauliflower; blanch first and then scatter the petals on a
salad. The leaves can be used to flavor vinegar. Always remove the bitter flower
base and use petals only. Young leaves and stems of the Crown Daisy, also known
as Chop Suey Greens or Shingiku in Japan, are widely used in oriental stir-fries
and as salad seasoning.
Cilantro - Like the leaves and seeds, the flowers
have a strong herbal Flavor. Use leaves and flowers raw as the flavor fades
quickly when cooked. Sprinkle to taste on salads, bean dishes, and cold
Citrus blossoms (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit,
kumquat) - Use highly scented waxy petals sparingly. Distilled orange flower
water is characteristic of Middle Eastern pastries and beverages. Citrus flavor,
Clover - Sweet, anise-like, licorice.
Coriander/Cilantro- The flavor of the flower is somewhat different from both the leaves and the
seed, more like a pungent mix of anise, cumin, sage, and orange.
Cornflower - Also called Bachelorís button. Bloom
is a natural food dye. More commonly used as garnish.
Dandelions - Member of Daisy family. Flowers are
sweetest when picked young, and just before eating. They have a sweet,
honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Good raw or steamed. Also made
into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. When serving a
rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.
Daylilies - Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable
flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Their flavor is a combination of asparagus
and zucchini. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different
flavors. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from
the bitter white base of the flower. Also great to stuff like squash blossoms.
Flowers look beautiful on composed salad platters or crowning a frosted cake.
Sprinkle the large petals in a spring salad. In the spring, gather shoots two or
three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus.
Dill - Tangy; like leaves but stronger. Use
yellow dill flowers as you would the herb itself - to season hot or cold soups,
seafood, dressings or dips. Seeds used in pickling and baking.
Elderberry - The blossoms are a creamy color and
have a sweet scent and sweet taste. When harvesting elderberry flowers, do not
wash them as that removes much of the fraagrance and flavor. Instead check them
carefully for insects. The fruit is used to make wine. CAUTION: All other parts
of this plant are poisonous! Do not even eat the stems of the flowers!
English Daisy- The flowers have a mildly
bitter taste and are most commonly used for their looks than their flavor. The
petals are used as a garnish and in salads.
Fennel - Lovely, star-burst yellow flowers have
a mile anise flavor. Use with desserts or cold soups, or as a garnish with
Fuchsia - Blooms have no distinct flavor.
Explosive colors and graceful shape make it ideal as garnish.
Gardenia - Intensely fragrant light cream-colored
blossom used for decorative purposes. In the Far East, dried gardenia blossoms
impart fragrance to jasmine tea.
Garden Sorrel- Sorrel flowers are tart, lemon
tasting. So use like a lemon: on pizza, a salad topping, in sauces, over
Gladiolas - Flowers (anthers removed) have a
nondescript flavor (taste vaquely like lettuce) but make lovely receptacles for
sweet or savory spreads or mousses. Toss individual petals in salads.
Hibiscus - Cranberry-like flavor with citrus
overtones. Use slightly acidic petals sparingly in salads or as garnish.
Hollyhock - Very bland tasting flavor.
Honeysuckle - Sweet honey flavor. Berries are highly
poisonous - Do not eat them!
Hyacinth - The bulb of this plant is edible and
was a particular favorite of the Nez Perce Indians. It was eaten either raw or
cooked and has a sweet, nutlike flavor.
Jasmine - The flowers are intensely fragrant and
are traditionally used for scenting tea.
Johnny-Jump-Ups - Lovely yellow, white and purple
blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads, to decorate
cakes, or served with soft cheese and are a great addition to drinks, soups,
desserts or salads.
Kale - The ornamental Kales (or flowering
kale) are especially nice and the "flowers" which are their leaves in
a rosette, are edible.
Lavender - Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and
citrus notes. Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne,
with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. Lavender lends
itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces.
Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. Dried
lavender blossoms used in perfumes and pot pourris.
Lemon Blossoms- Lemon flowers are very
fragrant. The flavor is citrusy and sweet.
Lemon Verbena- Tiny cream-colored
citrus-scented blossoms. Leaves and flowers steeped as an herb tea, and used to
flavor custards and flans.
Lilac - The flavor of lilacs varies from plant
to plant. Very perfumy, slightly bitter. Has a distinct lemony taste with
floral, pungent overtones. Great in salads.
Linden - Small flowers, white to yellow was are
delightfully fragrant and have a honey-like flavor.
Marjoram - Milder version of leaf. Use as you
would the herb.
Marigolds - They have a citrus flavor like
lemon-tangerine. Their sharp taste resembles saffron. Petals can be sprinkled on
salads, open-faced sandwiches, herb buttes, pasta or rice, and steamed
vegetables before serving.
Mint - The flavor of the flowers is minty,
with different overtones depending on the variety. Mint flowers and leaves are
great in Middle Eastern dishes.
Mustard - Young leaves can be steamed, used as a
herb, eaten raw, or cooked like spinach.
Nasturtiums - Come in varieties ranging from
trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors with peppery flavors.
Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet, spicy
flavor similar to watercress. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse. Leaves add
peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for
capers. Use entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas,
open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers.
Okra - Taste is similar to squash blossoms.
Orange Blossoms - They have a sweet citrusy
Oregano - Milder version of leaf. Use as you
would the herb.
Pansy - Pansies have a slightly sweet green or
grassy flavor. If you eat only the petals, the flavor is extremely mild, but if
you eat the whole flower, there is a winter, reen overtone. Use them as
garnishes, in fruit salads, green salad, desserts or in soups.
Pea Blossoms- Edible garden peas bloom mostly
in white, but may have other pale coloring. The blossoms are slightly sweet and
crunchy and they taste like peas. The shoots and vine tendrils are edible, with
a delicate, pea-like flavor. Here again, remember that harvesting blooms will
diminish your pea harvest, so you may want to plant extra.
Petunia - Petunia flowers have a mild flowery
taste and can be used as a garnish.
Pineapple Guava- The flavor is sweet and
tropical, somewhat like a freshly picked ripe papaya or exotic melon still warm
from the sun.
Poppy - Poppy petals can be used as a garnish
and in salads. They have a slight crunch and the flavor ranges from bland to
Queen Anne's Lace- Flavor is lightly carrot like. Great in salads.
Radish Flowers- Depending on the variety,
flowers may be pink, white or yellow, and will have a distinctive, spicy bite
(has a radish flavor). Best used in salads.
Rosemary - Milder version of leaf. Do not cook
blossoms. Fresh or dried herb and blossoms enhance flavor of Mediterranean
dishes. Use with meats, seafoods, sorbets or dressings.
Roses - Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and
green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice.
All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker
varieties. In miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger
petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. Freeze them in ice cubes and
float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and
Safflower - Its dried flowers, Mexican saffron,
are used as a food colorant in place of the more aromatic and expensive Spanish
Sage - Flowers have a subtler sage taste than
the leaves and can be used in salads and as a garnish. Flowers are a delicious
companion to many foods including beans, corn dishes, sauteed or stuffed
mushrooms, or pesto sauce.
Savory - The flavor of the flowers is somewhat
hot and peppery.
Scarlet Runner Beans- Bean pods toughen as they age, so make use of young pods as well as flowers.
Please note: Sweet Pea flowers are not edible.
Scented Geraniums- The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a
lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers. They come in fragrances
from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and
pastels. Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice
Snap Dragon - These have a melon flavor.
Squash Blossoms- Squash and pumpkin blossoms are
edible and taste mildly of raw squash. Prepare the blossoms by washing and
trimming the stems and remove the stamens.
Sunflower - The flower is best eaten in the bud
stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals
may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavor is distinctly bittersweet.
Sweet Woodruff - The flower flavor is sweet and
grassy with a hint of nutty, vanilla flavor.
Thyme - Milder version of leaf. Use sprigs as
garnish or remove flowers and sprinkle over soups, etc. (anywhere the herb might
Tuberous Begonia- The petals of the tuberous
begonias are edible. Their bright colors and sour, fruity taste bring flavor and
beauty to any summer salad. Begonia blossoms have a delicious citrusy sour taste
and a juicy crunch. The petals are used as a garnish and in salads. Stems, also,
can be used in place of rhubarb.
Tulip Petals- Flavor varies from tulip to
tulip, but generally the petals taste like sweet lettuce or fresh baby peas.
Violets - Sweet, perfumed flavor. I like to eat
the tender leaves in salads and use the flowers to beautifully embellish
desserts and iced drinks. Related flowers, Johnny jump-ups or violas, and
pansies now come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues.
Freeze them in punches to delight children and adults alike. All of these
flowers make pretty adornments for frosted cakes, sorbets, or any other
desserts, and they may be crystallized as well.
Yucca Petals- The white Yucca
flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste. in the spring, they can be used in
salads and as a garnish.