Edible flowers can act like a sprinkling of magical fairy dust over your cooking and baking. A few carefully chosen blooms can transform a plain side salad into the kind of work of art you would expect to find at a first-class restaurant. Likewise, a smattering of petals can turn cakes and cookies into confectionery that would make a French patissier proud!
Here are a few of our floral foodie favourites…
If you’ve ever eaten Turkish delight, you’ll be familiar with the subtly sweet and fragrant flavour of the rose. One of the most versatile edible flowers, it can be used as a cake decoration, in cocktails and chocolatey treats (rosey rocky road).
We all know that sunflowers produce edible seeds – great for sprinkling over salads and packed with nutritional goodness. But did you know that the buds and petals are also edible? Go on, sprinkle a little sunshine on your summer salads.
A pretty salad garnish, tulip petals vary in flavour according to their hue. Pink, peach and white blossoms are the sweetest while red and yellow have the deepest flavour. Warning: cut off the bottom of the petals as these can be bitter tasting and avoid the bulbs as these are not safe to use. And even if it's not Valentine's Day, we think this Scallop and Orange salad in a tulip is gorgeous for any occasion!
Carnation petals have a subtly sweet taste – making them ideal for cakes and desserts. We love Butter & Brioche's granola parfait topped with carnations.
Chrystanthemum leaves are a popular ingredient in floral tea, and Chinese cooking -boiled or fried as greens. The flowers can also be tossed into salads but the flavours vary widely from plant to plant – from sweet and tangy to bitter and peppery.
If you’re just dipping your toe in the edible flower pool – or you have a conservative palate – the gladiolus could be just the flower for you. Gladiola blossoms have a subtle flavour, but remember to remove the anthers and eat the petals only.
If you’ve tasted vanilla, you’ve tasted orchid - because unbeknownst to many, one particular species of orchid is host to the much loved vanilla pod. Find out more about cooking with orchids here.
Peonies are not only beautiful to look at – they can taste divine, too. We love this peony syrup recipe by Coucou Home, that promises to take your desserts and cocktails to another level.