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Edible Flowers

 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Stephen, you flower salad looks amazing.

Other than nasturtiums, I'm not using flowers in my meals. Reason -- I don't know which are safe to eat. I'm seeing people mentioning Johnny-jump-ups, borage, and roses (the petals I assume? I've heard of the hips (seed pods being used to make a tea). Adding color to a salad sounds great.

Could you list a few?
 
Stephen Barstow
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Location: Malvik, Norway
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OK, the picture shows another salad which I made for the regional newspaper in June, the second picture showing all flowers and colourful leaves assembled for decorating the salad. The link is to all the plants assembled (there are over 100) and if you hover with your mouse you will see the names in Norwegian and the scientific name...

http://www.thinglink.com/scene/536181539210264576

Here's a list of ones I can see in the salad:
Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla)
Lilium monadelphum
Violas
Claytonia sibirica (Siberian spring beauty)
Dandelion
Tulip
Dame's Violet
Viviparous bistort
Scorzonera
Numerous Alliums (onions)
Aquilegia barnebyi
Bunias oreintalis (Turkish Rocket)
etc...
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Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Su Ba, Yes, it is the petals of the roses that I eat.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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I am still learning to eat salads. I am not ready for such a pretty plate of it. I will have to start with just one. Can you recommend one easy to grow and easy to eat? The prettier the better.
Thanks,
 
leila hamaya
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well this wasnt directed at me, but i love edible flowers and eat them often.

MOST food producing plants have edible flowers : squash (yum!), beans, peas, brassicas, and arugula has some of the best tasting (imo).
onions, and leeks have really yummy flowers for topping a soup or salad.

many herbs also have edible flowers - sage (even the not culinary ones), thyme, mint, etc...all have yummy and flavorful flowers. red clover flowers are one of my personal favorites, very sweet.

and yes borage, rose petals, violas are some of the more commonly eaten ones...day lilies and hibiscus (as well as hollyhock, mallows and anything else from the malva extended family) are rather dramatic looking, and some of the most interesting of edible flowers.

something i am looking forward to try is hedychium coronarium - white butterfly ginger lily...have a couple of tiny plants, but hopefully they will get big enough to try eating some of them eventually. i gather this is a really common plant in hawaii, here its rare and hard to find....
 
Jennifer Smith
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Are all or mostly all daylilly flowers edible?
I also have hollyhock.
 
leila hamaya
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yes all daylilies are edible, the bulb the young shoots and the flower.

theres even a few TRUE lilies (day lilies arent actually in the lily family) which are edible (bulb and flower) such as wild tiger lily and others, but theres also a lot of lilies that ARENT edible.

hollyhock isnt one of the best as far as taste, but they are edible. the mallow extended family is very interesting and valuable as nearly every single plant in the entire family is entirely edible.

hibiscus are probably the best, but simple common mallow (malva neglecta) is one of my favorite feral edibles. the tiny flowers are pretty good =) tho an interesting texture.

basically every malva/mallow/hollyhock/hibiscus/althea/alcea is edible, root, stalk, seed, flower and leaves.

theres a few mallows/malva that were more commonly used in food, like marshmallow, which used to be the base of old school marshmallow candy. it has medicinal uses as well.
 
Matu Collins
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Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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One of our most prolific weeds, or "volunteers" is the wild radish. Its root is nothing much but the flowers are delicious and abundant from late spring to fall. We nibble them in the garden and toss them in salad. They have a radish flavor but sweet and not very biting.

Any brassica flowers are pretty good.

Chicory flowers are so beautiful and delicious, if you don't mind bitter
 
Stephen Barstow
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Location: Malvik, Norway
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But, please don't eat a lot of daylilies raw as they can make you sick. I discovered when researching the book that the Chinese authorities even put out warnings against eating daylilies raw! I advise to keep either to species daylilies or the older fashioned simple flowered forms as we don't know the chemical composition of all the myriad of modern cultivars, although I'm sure the odd flower won't hurt.... grow different species and you can have flowering daylilies most of the summer!
 
Jennifer Smith
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I am a fan of daylillies. I have plenty of what we call ditch lilies, old orange variety plus many more colorful ones I add as I find and can afford/justify. I had several members of the mallow family at old house but much less here so far. More to come now for sure! I was already wanting some down in my bog. Also have my eye on some cattails
 
Xisca Nicolas
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As no one shared pics in my topic, I add again mine here, to group all about flowers...
They show mainly nasturtium, calendula, poppy and borage.
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Xisca Nicolas
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I would like to add some general things about eating flowers....

1st, they are usually milder than any other part of the plant.
Just try nasturtium leaves and flowers....!
Same with radish or brassica in general.
Milder taste.

Then, about aromatics, I like very much rosemary flowers, and they are abundants.
And again milder!
They are better to eat raw than the hard and strong leaves.

2nd, I would mention NECTAR !!
Flowers can be sweeeeeet!
Just remember clover. All children (if not they should...) have sucked the base of the leaves.

For this purpose, at the moment the best I have in my garden are a type of hibiscus, the one that seem to never open their red petals.
You have to take them at the right moment, ripe enough, and not passed.
And you have to come before any hungry sucker (insects...)

Then I also have the flashy red "pineapple sage".
The flower is small, and sweet also, and they are many, many, and remind of the pineapple flavor.

3rd, the texture:
About the malva family: they are imo more mucilaginous than the leaves. This is a great quality for our stomachs!
Just try to chew them a long time and you will feel this softness in your mouth.
Most flowers will just be "different" from any other part of the plant.
And very easy to chew, which can be great for any age with weak teeths!

4th, color.
This is an advantage and a drawback....
As Su Ba mentionned, what is edible?
We are culturally warned about red color, for example, as a promise of poison.
So I guess we are commonly cautious about flowers. They just "look" unedible.

The other fact is that we are not generally attracted by blue food.
But when you decide to unlock the curiosity then colors are so great to give life and joy to salads!
How great is orange, red, yellow, in a greeeeeeeeeen salad!
Who noticed children opinion about eating flowers? I don't have children and have no idea about their reactions...

Then let's mention that colors are supposed to be used for therapy, thanks to the differents "waves" of te differents colors.
I have noticed that I personnaly like to chose the color of my food.
So, for me, flowers are a good way to personnalize your salad, especially when various persons eat the same meal.
Or else the color of the meal is ajusted to the cooker's needs!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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You would not expect this one to be edible, but it is!
"corregüela" in spanish, Convolvulus althaeoides
I think that I have to get used to it, as it is a little sweet with an uncommon taste.
I would not plant it, on the contrary, I fight it, as it is choking others.
But let's take what it offers!

I forgot to mention that flowers are the tenderest part of wild edibles!
Also, most books teach you to recognize plant through the flower.
So you recognize them 1st when the leaves are not at their best...
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leila hamaya
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beautiful pics xisca !
i also love the pineapple sage flowers, ones of my favorites.
truly it smells better than it tastes, but the smell somehow translate to a taste =)
and its smell is soooo good! the taste is good too !

heres some of my pics. i should take more pics, but usually i forget....tho i like making these beautiful flowered meals =)
this is all from my gardens...

flowers are: nasturtium, borage, viola, wild leeks (allium triquetrum), broccoli, and what i call kalecoli =) flowers



flowers are: sage, arugula, viola, pea, more brassicas, nasturtium:


heres a flower topped coconut soup, wild leek flowers, broccoli and brassicas flowers, arugula

easy recipe = everything good in my garden + two cans of coconut milk + flowers available to top it off =)
 
leila hamaya
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got one more....this is from my friends garden

rugosa roses, squash blossoms, and i think thats radish + maybe some other?
also i remember this day and some elders we know had just given us some awesome homemade smoked salmon =)
so that made it into this salad

 
Morfydd St. Clair
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Location: Hamburg, Germany
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Jennifer, people have mentioned both of these before, but nasturtiums and borage are probably your easiest edible flowers. I am a mediocre gardener at best and these always go like gangbusters.

Nasturtiums are peppery, fun to eat straight off the plant. The leaves taste just the same, are good in salads and make a fine pesto. At the end of the season, when the plant is a tangled mess, I tear it all out, snip off all the leaves and flowers, dry and powder them for winter spiciness.

Borage has... not a lot of flavor for me, only vaguely cucumbery. The flowers are lovely, though the rest of the plant isn't so much. I am told that the leaves are nice very young, but I've never tried them, and the older leaves are covered with a prickly fuzz. Borage will get huge, and reseed itself everywhere. The biggest reason to plant it for me is that the bees *love* it.

Also, both are loved by aphids. This is kind of useful, because you can use them as sacrifice plants - let the aphids congregate, pull the whole plant and throw it away, and your problem is gone. You do have to watch for bugs if you're trying to eat these plants though.

 
Bill Bradbury
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I didn't see fruit tree flowers on here, I love apple blossoms, maybe the best part of spring!
 
Zach Muller
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I have a fine time growing nasturtiums, but they never flower where they pop up so I have only eaten the leaf.
Now calendula is equally easy to grow and has delicious flowers.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Super Leila!
We would feel at home in each other cuisine....

Yes I forgot, but I also use brasica flowers like radish or rucula.
When you miss the root or the leave, then you get the flower!

And some wild peas, and wild allium.

About fruit tress flowers, I should eat alongs' at the moment!
I don't dare eat apple flowers that would not give their fruit....

I was told that feijoa flower is great (at least it is beautiful)
 
William James
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Most extensive list I've come across so far. Too bad, no pics.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07237.html

-W
 
laura Iverson
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Don't think I have seen anyone mention bachelor buttons or arugula flowers yet!
I also put flowers on my sandwiches!
Eating flowers is like eating sunshine rays
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Bachelor Buttons
 
Celeste Solum
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The cheesecake is made with goat cheese, goat milk and free range chicken eggs.

I just made a Hollyhock Clafoutis and it was very colorful and delicious.

Enjoy!



 
Celeste Solum
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I am not sure why the image didn't transfer, it is at: www.nonaiswa.org as well as the recipe.
 
Burra Maluca
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Celeste Solum wrote:I am not sure why the image didn't transfer, it is at: www.nonaiswa.org as well as the recipe.


You need to right click on the image and 'copy image location'.

It looks awesome!

 
geraint britton
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Location: Lazio, Italy
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Hemerocallis/day lily flowers - my personal favourite for salads (add a few toasted sesame seeds or gomasio, a drop of balsamic..) - can also be dried and then added to soups, stews etc, a common practice in china and points east, where they're known as golden needles. Another one that's great in salads is the Yellow Asphodel, Asphodeline lutea, or Aaron's Rod. Did anyone mention elderflowers?
 
leila hamaya
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i should take more pictures of the flower meals i make. i do make them quite often, some less elaborate than others. i suppose its a little odd to take pics of every meal you make, usually one has to be particularly pretty for me to get inspired to snap it.
 
Lisa Allen
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Wow, these look gorgeous and delicious! May have medicinal properties too!

Can't forget the weeds, like dandelions (whole plant actually) and?

Here in our yard we have Purslane, a wonderful edible actually cultivated in much of the world but not in up the USA oddly! A wonderful way to get your Omega 3s as those are hard to get from food sources!
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Calendula or Pot Marigold are nice to sprinkle petals in potatoes, they look pretty bu the flavour is nothing extraordinary. The most surprising one I know is Aquilegia which does not look like it should be edible, again it just tatses like a flower. But I also like Rocket flowers which taste like spicy peanut butter, and borage which taste like cucumber.
 
Virginia Anne Lyon
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This book is a great guide. You should be able to find it second-hand online: Barash, Cathy Wilkinson. Edible flowers from garden to palate. c1993. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado. ISBN 1555911641 ; ISBN 1555912461 (pbk). It includes culture notes and recipes, and only flowers that have been well-researched and are very certain to be safe are included.
 
Francesco Delvillani
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Edible flowers are also those of Feijoa, the are fragrant and perfect with salad
 
Cassie Langstraat
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We had a beautiful article on Edible Flowers in the first issue of Permaculture Magazine, North America.

Here are a few pictures from it:


Carrot-apple salad with cowslip flowers and violas.


Making flower water - use this, strained, to spray on laundry.


Edible flowers preserved in ice cubes!

If you wanna see the whole article in the first issue, you can subscribe here.
 
Annelie Roux
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Can anyone identify these flowers that are sold as "Micro Sun Daisy" edible flowers?  I have an idea what they are but would like a 2nd opinion especially since at least one website says that they are not edible.  I don't know if it's just because they don't taste very good or because they should not be ingested by humans. 
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