Edible Flower Guide
Here is more information on the flowers and herbs used in our Edible Flower and Herb Mix.
Edible flowers have been used for many years in cooking, to enhance salads with their colour, texture and intriguing flavours and also for decoration. This mix consists of appealing flowers and blooming herbs for the eye and palate. The decorative petals and leaves are for use as garnishes and flavours. Some are spicy, some are floral and some are fragrant.
It is always best to grow your own edible flowers so you can be sure that they are clean, fresh and free from pests and disease. They are always best picked fresh from the garden the day you want to use them.
Note: Missing from our list of edible flowers is Borage. We have had advice from Landcare Research that although Borage flowers have been traditionally used, there is a good deal of recent research into the PA family, to which it belongs, that has proven these toxic to humans. The EU is now testing for these and rejecting any products with these in.
Agastache foeniculum - Lavender Hyssop
Both flowers and leaves have a delicate, fragrant taste. They are ideal for adding to cakes for a hint of anise flavour, or add the leaves and flowers to whipped cream for a creamy, liquorice flavour. If you are pregnant, be sure to research possible contraindications to using this herb.
Allium schoenoprasum - Chives
Chive flowers have a mild onion flavour and are surprisingly crunchy. They are widely used tossed in salads, pasta, omelettes, fish or cheese sauce to give that extra bite. For garnish and cooking break the flower into individual florets - whole flowers may be too pungent.
Calendula officinalis – English Marigold
Flowers have a slightly peppery taste and will add a light, tangy flavour to breads and soups. They will add a touch of colour and make a bright and tasty addition to salads. Petals can be used fresh or dried as an economical substitute for saffron for adding colour to rice or butter. The fresh young leaves can also be used sparingly in salads.
Coriandrum sativum - Coriander
Both flowers and leaves can be used in a variety of different dishes. Scatter over cauliflower, add to the end of a stir-fry or add to cream cheese. Scatter a few flowers over an orange fruit salad.
Dianthus barbatus – Sweet William
Most dianthus have a pleasant spicy, floral, clove-like taste and are ideal for decorating or adding to cakes. They’ll also make a colourful garnish to soups, salads and the punch bowl. The petals of Sweet Williams will add zest to ice cream, sorbets, salads, fruit salad, dessert sauces, seafood and stir-fries. It is advisable to remove the white heel at the base of the petal as this has a bitter taste.
Ocimum basilicum and citriodorum – Sweet Basil and Basil Red Rubin
Flowers can be used as a substitute for leaves in any dish requiring basil. The flowers should be used more sparingly due to their very intense flavour. Delicious added to salads, soups or pasta.
Tropaeolum - Nasturtium Peach Melba
The fresh leaves and flowers of all Nasturtiums have a peppery flavour similar to watercress. The flowers will add a spicy touch to salads and the green seeds can be chopped and used with parsley as a garnish or made into capers. Try them combined with cream cheese or butter in canapés, or in a cheese and tomato sandwich. Flowers can also be used to garnish steaks or casseroles.
Viola cornuta – Johnny Jump Up
Flowers have a lettuce-like flavour and make a decorative addition to a green salad or to garnish a pâté or dessert. They can be crystallised and used on cakes, cookies or creamy desserts.
Disclaimer: Wildflower World has researched all the edible flowers listed above. However consuming the flowers or plants listed here is at your own risk. Wildflower World cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction to the flowers. In case of doubt please consult your medical professional.
Wildflower World acknowledges information from Thompson & Morgan Seeds and Landcare Reseach NZ.
Here are just a few of the many ways you can include edible flowers and herbs.
Select some young tender lettuce leaves, then wash and dry them before tearing into a wooden or glass bowl. Add several whole basil leaves and a similar quantity of nasturtium leaves, then toss in an oil and vinegar dressing. Gather the fresh flowers of viola, nasturtium, rose and calendula. Lightly pull apart the calendula and nasturtium but leave the viola flowers whole, then mix them all gently into the salad. Garnish the top of the salad with a few whole nasturtium flowers and rose petals.
For 8 scones:
450g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml milk with 2 tsp of cream tartar.
2 tbsp fresh calendula petals.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Rub in the butter and add the milk and the cream of tartar and the calendula petals. Mix thoroughly until a soft dough is formed. Turn onto a floured board, knead lightly, and then roll to about 2cm thick. Use a 5cm plain cutter to cut out the scones and put them on a lightly floured baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cool on a baking tray before eating.
Cottage Cheese Dip
1 cup cottage cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ tsp. caraway seeds
¼ cup yoghurt
½ cup mixed flower petals torn into small pieces
Force the cottage cheese through a sieve. Add remaining ingredients. Chill for 2 hours and garnish with extra flowers. Makes 1½ cups.
Crystallised Flowers for Decoration
Use freshly picked primroses, pansies, violets, pinks, roses or other recommended small flowers.
The white of an egg
Pick the flowers when the dew has dried and select only undamaged, perfectly formed flowers. Gently whisk the egg white until it is bubbly, but not frothy. Paint the white onto all parts of the flower, then dip it into the caster sugar, making sure that it is completely covered. Shake off any surplus and leave on greaseproof paper in a warm room to dry. Use when hardened. When thoroughly dry, place in an airtight container, layered with greaseproof paper and store in a cool place. They will keep for about a week.