The Q&A Archives: Edible Flowers

Question: Can you give me a list of edible flowers, what parts of the plant are edible (and what parts to avoid), and any other tips?

Answer: First of all, do not eat flowers if you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. And eat only those that have been grown organically and have no pesticide residue. Collect flowers for eating in the cooler parts of the day -- preferably early morning after the dew has evaporated. Choose flowers that are at their peak, avoiding those that are not fully open or are starting to wilt. Immediately before using, wash the flowers, checking for bugs and dirt. Remove the stamens and styles from flowers before eating -- the pollen can detract from the flavor and some people are allergic to it.

As far as what parts to on which flowers: You can eat the entire flowers of Johnny-jump-up, violet, runner bean, honeysuckle, and clover. Remove the sepals of all flowers except violas, Johnny-jump-ups, and pansies. Eat only the petals of rose, calendula, tulip, chrysanthemum, yucca, and lavender. Roses, dianthus, English daisies, Signet marigolds, and chrysanthemums have a bitter white portion at the base of the petal where it was attached to the flower; remove this portion before using. Dandelion leaves are delicious in salads or cooked as a green. The flowers are edible when young; they become bitter with age. Remove dandelions' sepals -- they are bitter. You can also eat both the flowers and the leaves of nasturtiums.

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