I love adding colour to our plates with edible flowers. In winter this is especially satisfying; finding colour in the darkest winter days.
I love adding colour to our salad bowls with edible flowers. There are so many out there that can be used! It’s important to know which ones are edible though as not all flowers are. Below is a list of my favourite edible flowers, and what parts of the flower are edible.
My first priority however is cramming the garden with as many flowers as I can for the bees. If there is enough to share, or the bees have finished with the flowers, that’s when I’ll grab them.
Roses are a flower that I don’t think get used as much as they could! All rose flower petals are edible, though their flavour can change depending on the variety. The petals are gorgeous in salads and they can come in so many different colours.
Roses will flower late autumn/early winter too which adds colour when the days are darker.
These bright little flowers are stunning! They’re a cool season flower so again will brighten your plate in colder winter days. The entire flower head can be eaten for this flower. No need to pick off individual petals.
Like roses, dahlias come in a host of different colours and sizes which adds great variation to your plate. The dahlia petals (and tubers) are edible, not the greens.
The bees love dahlias too so I only harvest the petals once they start dropping off.
When herbs set to seed they can add beauty and mass flavour to a dish! Coriander has little white flowers, rosemary has purple, oregano has pink. Below is a Vietnamese mint flower.
Chives make beautiful purple pom pom flowers that add a delicate onion flavour.
Edible Weed Flowers – Dandelion and chickweed
Certain weeds are edible and we are not utilising them enough! Dandelion (yellow flower pictured below) is edible. The entire plant is edible and similar to rocket.
The green foliage with the little white flowers pictured below is chickweed. This ‘weed’ is entirely edible too and nutrient packed.
Also pictured in the handful are nasturtiums and borage
Dianthus have sweet and colourful edible petals.
A delicious mustardy flower, this adds colour and spice to a dish. The leaves are edible too. The larger they are the spicier they get.
A bees best friend, I always have borage in the garden! The little blue petals are edible and have a faint cucumber flavour.
Sticking with the blue theme, blue cornflowers is another flower with edible petals. The petals are a striking colour.
Wild fennel grows all over New Zealand. The whole plant is edible but the flower heads are particularly delicious. They have a mild and sweet aniseed taste.
As wild fennel is considered a weed, do ensure you harvest it from an area that hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides.
All lavender are edible but some varieties are more palatable than others. The very perfumed varieties are more suited for essential oils and perfumes while the milder varieties are best used in cooking.
There are many more that I have not listed, such as squash or pumpkin flowers, calendula, chamomile, marigolds, sunflowers and all the flowers in the brassica family.
It’s easy to think that if the vegetable is edible then the flower of the plant is too. However that is not always the case.
Don’t eat the flowers in the nightshade family. This includes tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, chilli and capsicum. Many other flowers are very toxic when eaten so do your research before trying other flowers.
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