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Feast Your Eyes and Stomach on These Edible Flowers

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Produce is edible,
And flowers are too!

Edible flowers are the latest food trend. Maybe you’ve seen them for sale at your local farmers market or sprinkled on a salad at your city’s latest trendy restaurant, but you’ve wondered if you could actually eat them. The answer is yes! Edible flowers are more than just beautiful, they’re also healthful and tasty.

Which flowers can you eat, and what can they do for you? Edible flowers have two main health benefits:

Flower Power 1: Quench Inflammation
Chronic, low-grade inflammation is the culprit behind many degenerative conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Many edible flowers contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as phenols. These flowers include chrysanthemums, nasturtiums, pansies, peonies, and roses.

Flower Power 2: Fight Free Radicals
Antioxidants can help prevent the free radical damage that comes from daily living and exposure to pollution. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, and the same is true of flowers. Gardenia, honeysuckle, marigold, roses, violets, and zinnia are good choices if you are looking for flowers rich in antioxidants.

Safety First

Ready to partake in some petals? Follow these three basic safety guidelines:

  1. Only eat flowers that are being sold for consumption or that you grew yourself. Flowers that you bought at the florist or picked by the side of the road may have been exposed to pesticides or car exhaust.
  2. Only eat the petals. Do not eat the pistils and stamens.
  3. Never eat the following flowers, which can be toxic: daffodils, hydrangea, oleander, sweet pea, or wisteria.

DIY: Edible Flowers in Your Garden
Speaking of growing flowers yourself, if you grow pumpkins or squash, the blossoms are edible. The traditional way to eat them is to fill them with cheese and fry them. But if you’re staying away from fried foods, you can also bake them. Try baked zucchini flowers with a creamy ricotta filling!

If you grow your own herbs, the flowers are an end-of-season treat. Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, and sage all produce edible flowers when the plant is near the end of its life. Anyone who has grown cilantro in a warm climate knows how quickly it bolts, or goes to seed, which makes the flowers a nice compensation. The trick is to keep several pots (or sections of your Tower Garden) going at different stages at once. Herb flowers tend to taste like the herb in question, or in some cases, a milder version of it.

Want a more complete list of edible flowers? Check it out here!

Have you tried edible flowers? What’s your favorite? Share in the comments below!


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