Test Kitchen tips: Edible flowers

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Flowers may not be the first ingredient you think of when garnishing a dish, but they’re perfect for adding bright color -- not to mention flavor -- to a host of sweet and savory recipes. Sprinkle tender buds in salad, laminate pastry sheets with colorful petals, or stuff whole blossoms with any of a number of fillings. The options are almost endless. If you decide to add flowers to a recipe, make sure that the flowers are indeed edible. Like mushrooms, some flowers can be harmful or even poisonous if eaten -- be sure you know what you’re playing with before adding any flowers to a recipe.

Likewise, make sure the flowers haven’t been sprayed with any pesticides. If you’re picking from your own garden, make sure sure it’s from a spot your dog or cat can’t mark as its own.

You can often find edible flowers in the produce section of well-stocked grocery stores and gourmet markets; if purchasing flowers, be sure to buy them from produce suppliers (flowers from florists may have been sprayed with pesticides).

Freshly picked flowers should be used the day they’re harvested because they can wilt quickly. Purchased flowers can keep up to several days, tightly wrapped and refrigerated.


The New Food Lover’s Companion gives a great list of options in its edible flowers entry:

‘Some of the more popular edible flowers are: the peppery flavored nasturtiums; chive blossoms, which taste like a mild, sweet onion; pansies and violas, both with a flavor reminiscent of grapes, and perfumy, sweet roses. Other edible flowers include: almond, apple, borage, chamomile, lavender, lemon, lovage, mimosa, orange, peach, plum and squash blossoms, chrysanthemums, daisies, geraniums, jasmine, lilacs, marigolds and violets.’

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you’d like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at


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