Edible flowers add delight and distinctly delicious flavors to food and drinks. Fluttered as a garnish or tossed in salads they are fresh and fun, but they can also be incorporated into a number of staples that allow their usage beyond blooming season. Employ spicier petals, like garlic, rosemary, nasturtium or chive flowers (pictured above) for savory dishes; use sweeter blooms, like rose, violet, or lemon verbena petals for cocktails and desserts. Try any of these 42 flowers you can eat (and be sure to follow the tips for eating flowers safely).
1. Flower Vinegar
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- ½ cup flower petals
Add flowers to vinegar and store in dark, cool place for a week. Strain flowers and use vinegar in dressings and other recipes calling for vinegar.
2. Flower Honey
- 1 cup flower petals
- 1 pound honey
Use lavender or rosemary blossoms for a stronger honey, or rose petals or other more floral blooms for a more fragrant flavor. Add the flower petas to a reusable tea bag or make a bundle in cheesecloth and add to honey. Leave in a bright, sunny place for a week, check flavor. Leave longer for a more pronounced flavor. When ready, remove the petal bag and use.
3. Flower Sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup chopped flower petals
Stir flowers into sugar and let sit for a week. The sugar will absorb the moisture and flavor and the petals remain to add color and texture. Especially nice to finish off baked goods and to rim cocktail glasses.
4. Flower Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup flowers
Boil ingredients for 10 minutes, strain, and store refrigerated 2 weeks. Wonderful in cocktails and other drinks, and great for topping pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and other sweet dishes.
5. Flower Tea
If you have roses, you can dry the hips to use for rose hip tea.
Rose hips, the cherry-sized fruit of the rose bush, left behind after the flower has faded, can be dried and eaten straight as a snack, like dried berries, or used to make tea. They are super high in vitamin C, and have a spicy, nutty, sweet floral taste that is pretty much divine. Food fit for gods and goddesses.
First collect the hips after the blooms have died and wash the fruit gently. Cut the fruit in half and scrape out the hairy seeds. Then simply dry the rose hips on a baking sheet in the oven set at the lowest temperature, checking and stirring often so that they don’t burn.
You can also string them on a thread with a needle into a garland of sorts and dry them in a cool, dry place. Leave room between the hips so they can dry thoroughly, which should take a few days. Store them in an airtight container, and when ready for some rose hip tea, seep the hips in hot water and voila. You can also add other dried bits to your tea mix, like the blend pictured above which includes rose hips with hibiscus blossoms, dried apple pieces, elderberries, and orange peel.
6. Flower Butter
- ½ cup flower petals
- ½ pound sweet butter
Stir petals into softened butter with a fork and form into a log, wrap well. Chill and slice off sections to top warm dishes or use in recipes. Herb flowers (chive, garlic, rosemary, etc) are great on grilled vegetables or pasta, perfumed flowers (rose, violet, lavender, etc) are great on pancakes or sweet dishes. Keeps refrigerated for two weeks or frozen up to six weeks.
7. Flower Vodka
- 2 cups vodka
½ cup flower petals
Make your own flower infused vodka by simply adding flowers to vodka and allowing to sit for 48 hours, then strain. Rose or lavender petal vodka cocktails, served in glasses rimmed with flower sugar, are sure to keep summer alive even as the season begins to fade away.