10 Garden Flowers that are Beautiful – and Edible

If you’re seeking a unique way to present your next salad or meal, you may wish to consider some of these 10 edible, yet beautiful garden flowers. Your guests will all be amazed when they taste these delicious flowers in their salads and dinner. Your salad bar will be the talk of the town.

Many a chef has made their point by putting some flower petals into their salad as a garnish. They are tasty and delicious and you’ll be intrigued when you find out just how many great flowers out there you can enjoy in your garden and eat at the dinner table. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites:

Dandelions

Dandelion Flower

The lowly dandelion has its place in culinary history. From dandelion wine and jelly to garnishing your salad it offers up a unique flavor in salads as well as soups. Not only are the flower edible, but the leaves of the dandelion are also edible.

So stop panicking when you see the lowly dandelion growing in your yard and get out your gardening tools, it’s time to make a delicious salad and put those dandelions to some good use. Use the greens in your salad alongside of the lettuce and the flowers (stems removed) will add some depth and color to your salad as well as impart a delicious flavor.

Calendula

Marigold / Ringblomst

These flowers are rather nondescript in flavor but they certainly can brighten up your salad plate. It’s not unusual for a pastry chef to use them in their floral designs when they are making a cheesecake or some other baked goodies. The petals are a lovely golden orange and more than one chef has had the lovely calendula stand in for saffron.

An added bonus is that this lovely flower will reseed itself so once you plant it, it will return year after year to grace your salad plate. It doesn’t get much easier than this when it comes to planting your salad garden.

Elderberry

Elder Flowers By Canal

Just about everyone has heard of elderberry wine, it’s even used in lemonade as well as iced tea. With its honey like scent and taste its frequently used in cooking. It’s important however, to keep in mind that you must cook the elderberry fruit or it is mildly toxic.

Otherwise, it’s a delicious addition to many beverages and in cooking. You can also sprinkle the delicate flowers on salads (you don’t need to cook those, only the fruit requires cooking). Some even fry the dome shaped flower clusters and make fritters out of them. What a delicious appetizer or dessert.

Borage

Borage

If you’re a fan of cucumbers, you’re going to love borage. Borage tastes like a mild cucumber and it’s ideal for using in beverages, savory stews and even your salad. Nearly the same color as the above-mentioned calendula, the golden hue offers a pretty contrast to other greens when eaten in a salad.

Ideal for flavoring your water (everyone’s heard of cucumber water) and other beverages, you’re sure to capture everyone’s attention with this delicious flower. The flowers are an electric blue and the plant itself is more of a golden color.

Lavender

Which way to color?

No list of edible plants would be complete without lavender. This lovely flower comes in hues ranging from blues to deep purple and it goes well in salads, ice cream, lemonade and other delicate sweet taste treats.

Easy to add to just about anything all you do is rub the flowers between two fingers and they easily come off of the stem. Try lavender lemonade or use some lavender to flavor your next glass of ice water. You’ll love the delicate aroma and flavor of this flower.

Pansy

Pansies !

The pansy is a unique choice when it comes to culinary specialties. Flowers ranging in every color you can imagine reign supreme in this lovely flower. A relative of the violet, they offer you a variety of culinary uses from baking to salads.

Often used to decorate cakes and pies they lend a delicious flavor to your baked goods as well as an aesthetically pleasing design when used to decorate a cake. If you have a garden with pansies, you’re going to love using them in your kitchen.

Nasturtium

Dark Orange Nasturtium

This lovely flower offers a unique peppery taste that is reminiscent of watercress, they are in fact very close relatives. Frequently used in salads and as a garnish, nasturtium offer up a delicious flavor and are an ideal addition to tapenade or things that are stuffed with cheese.

You’ll love the ease of adding this lovely flower to your salads and as a garnish and your guests will be pleasantly surprised at the peppery zest in the foods that you’ve added nasturtiums to.

Roses

Rose

Many people don’t realize that the gorgeous roses that they are using in a bouquet for their centerpiece, are also very edible. Ideal in beverages, salads and deserts many even make jam out of rose petals as well as out of the rose hips that develop after the flowers fall off of the plant.

The stronger the smell of the rose, the stronger the flavor of the petals. You’ll have fun mixing and matching your rose petals into lemonades and other desserts. Your rose garden has many creative uses when you know that they are edible.

Scented Geranium

Geranium

If you like the holiday’s with their nutmeg, ginger and citrus scents, you’re going to love the scented geranium. Ideal for making into ice cream and as a sprinkling over your favorite desserts. You can also turn these into beverages and sip them hot or cold. Other varieties include peppermint, rose and even lemon flavors.

One unique cook even uses them to flavor her ice cubes. This offers an added layer of flavor to her beverages. If you’re looking for a unique year round flower to add to your cooking, this may well be the one to choose.

Pinks

Dianthus barbatus, "Sweet William"

This flower (also known as a Dianthus) is delicious with a hint of clove flavor. Some of the plants are stronger than others and many claim that the deeper the color, the stronger the flavor.

Ideal for hot ciders during the fall months and to jazz up your favorite hot tea. You can also float the flowers in soup and sprinkle them over your favorite salads. If you’re really adventurous, you may even wish to try them in cookies.

Before you begin randomly picking flowers from your garden and adding them to your dining table, it’s important to note that many flowers are actually poisonous. If you’re unsure, be sure to look the specific flower up by its botanical name before you incorporate it into your next meal or beverage.

Also make sure that your flowers aren’t being sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. If you plan to eat them, you’ll want to select a less intense method to control bugs and other predators to your plants.

Remember too that sometimes the flower of a plant is edible, but the stamen or the pistel may not be edible. Always read the fine print when you’re reading up on edible flowers and ensure that they are edible.

Be sure that you’re picking the right flowers as well, many flowers look similar but one may be poisonous while the other is edible. Choose to eat only those that you know without a doubt are edible.

Always wash your flowers (and leaves if using them as well) thoroughly before you incorporate them into your beverages or meals.

How to grow edible flowers in your garden that both look beautiful but can also be added to salads and other recipes in the kitchen.

(Images c/o alcidesota@yahoo.com-OFF-For Several Monthsdan.kristiansenbestfor / richardHenry HemmingJoel OlivesMara 1SwaminathanElena PenkovaepicnomJohn Lillis)