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Summer Flowers You Can Actually Eat

Posted by Gwen Watson on Jun 19, 2015

Summer Flowers You Can Actually Eat

When most of us think about summer’s bounty, we envision all the garden fresh fruits and vegetables we’ll have a chance to eat. However, these aren’t the only seasonal items that are edible! There are many flowers that can be eaten, as well – and they’re surprisingly delicious. Here are some flowers you likely never suspected were actually edible!


As it turns out, those beautiful, blooming roses that are the main feature of your flower garden are edible, too! For those in the know, rose petals are a fairly popular dessert ingredient. They are used to flavor anything from pound cakes to cookies. Rose petal jelly is also a classic favorite! The next time you make a vanilla cake, stir in about a half a cup of fresh rose petals just before transferring the batter to a pan.


The common blue violet (Viola sororia) is also edible. In fact, both the leaves and the flowers in this plant are edible. Both can be included in salads and violet flowers are often candied and used to decorate cakes and other pastries. Follow these instructions to make your own candied violet flowers at home.


Nasturtiums, or Tropaeolum majus, have a tangy bite that’s very similar to watercress. Interestingly enough, the scientific name for watercress is Nasturtium officinale, so people have long recognized the similarity between the two plants. Both the flowers and the leaves of this plant are edible. Nasturtium flowers and leaves taste especially good in salads and sandwiches.


Both the tuber and flower buds of the daylily plant are edible. In fact, Chinese chefs have long prized both for their rich flavor. However, be aware that harvesting the tuber will likely kill the plant. Instead, pluck the succulent flower when it’s still a bud that’s just about to flower. This is when the flavor is the most intense. Moo Shu Pork, a popular Chinese dish, often uses daylilies to impart a unique flavor.


Lavender has long been prized as a healing plant. However, in addition to using the essential oil or drinking lavender tea, the flowers can also be eaten! Lavender flowers are an especially good flavor ingredient for scones and cakes. Simply stir half a cup of fresh lavender flowers into vanilla cake batter just before pouring into the pan.

Calendula and Marigolds

Calendula and Marigolds, which are both popular annuals, also happen to be edible! They’re closely related and have a mild, but distinct flavor and besides being great in salads, they’re also widely used in savory cooking. Many cooks use them to replace saffron because they both impart similar flavors and colors, plus saffron can be expensive and difficult to find. Here’s a recipe for paella that uses calendula instead of saffron, and you can easily substitute marigold for calendula.

Before you start picking flowers and eating them, it’s important to be absolutely certain that you’ve identified them correctly. You don’t want to accidentally eat the wrong plant because not all flowers are edible! Make sure you use a reliable field guide or ask an expert before you dig in.

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