Edible Flowers

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Eat them both, they’re
healthy for you!
Enjoy flowers for their beautiful colors, their soothing scents, and their health benefits. Make sure all flowers come from respectable, organic farms. Otherwise, they are not safe to eat. If you can, grow your own! Adding it to soups, salad or using them in sauces, desserts will not only give you some eye candy but will also add a punch of flavor, aroma and beneficial nutrients!

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Here are a few of the most popular edible flowers and how they will improve your health:

Dandelions:

Dandelions are recognized as a pesky weed that spreads easily. It may be annoying, but its health benefits might make it all worthwhile. Dandelion is known to be one of the best liver detoxifiers and is ranked as one of the top four green vegetables. It is the densest green vegetable source of beta-carotene and 3rd richest source of vitamin A of any food! It is particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, the B  vitamins, thiamine, and riboflavin. The blossoms help fight water retention, skin irritation, and PMS symptoms. It is a great blood cleanser, liver tonic, and weight loss remedy.

dandelions
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Taste: Young flowers with tightly bunched centers picked close to the ground will have a
sweet, honey-like flavor.

Try it:  Sprinkle over rice dishes or on top of salads
for a nice touch of color, eat the leaves or blossoms raw, or brew tea with
dandelion root.

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Daylilies

Daylilies are not to be confused with other lilies, which are toxic so make sure you know the difference! The edible kind, contain more protein than most of the vegetables that are  part of our everyday diet.  They contain vitamins B and C and practically every part of the flower is edible. You can find it fresh or dried in Asian markets where it may be called gun jum or golden needles.

daylilies
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Taste: Raw daylilies are sweet with an exotic bite. They have the texture and flavor
similar to sautéed onions or mushrooms when they are fully cooked.

Try it: Add into soups, salads, and stir-frys. Substitute for your every day fruits and
vegetables for something different!

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Lavender

Lavender, a member of the mint family, is most well known for its effects that induce a state of calm and relaxation.

lavendar
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Taste: Sweet, floral, combined with lemon and citrus notes

Try it: For stress and headaches brew your own tea- two teaspoons of lavender flowers per cup of boiling water. Place a sprig in a glass of sparkling wine or a piece of
chocolate cake. Combines well with rosemary, sage, thyme, fennel, and oregano.
Lavender also works well in savory dishes.

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Marigold

Many times people refer to marigolds as the “poor mans saffron” because of its natural food coloring abilities. Marigold petals maintain their color even after baking. Its golden orange petals are high in lycopene- an antioxidant, which is shown to protect against breast and colon cancers as well as heart disease. It’s also great for gardening because it
keeps the snails out!

marigold
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Taste: The flavor ranges from spicy to bitter, tangy and peppery and even remind some of saffron

Try it: Crush into a champagne flute or float on top of a sparkling wine. They also add a nice yellow tint to soups, spreads, scrambled eggs, and on top of muffins or cupcakes.

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Mustard

This flower is related to radish, turnips, cabbage, and cauliflower. It is a very alkaline food that aids in digestion and also supports liver function.

mustard flowers
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Taste: It is very bitter. The flowers are just as bitter as the rest of the plant so it is
better to use sparingly as a garnish.

Try it: Better to wait for the flower to “go to seed”, then sprinkle the seeds on salads. To
make mustard, mix with cold water, vinegar, and salt. Tip: the colder the liquid the hotter the mustard!

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Nasturtiums 

To get a good idea of what these flowers look and taste like, picture rainbow colored watercress. The colors of this flower range from bright yellow and orange to red, salmon, mahogany, and cherry rose. Nasturtiums are high in vitamin C, iron and other minerals. They have powerful antioxidant properties and have traditionally been used in South America to treat coughs, colds, the flu, and other respiratory difficulties.

nasturiums
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Taste: Sweet, peppery flavor which grows hotter with more sunlight. If you want a milder
flavor choose flowers that have been in partial or full shade.

Try it: Leaves and blossoms can be thrown into a salad. Try substituting the leaves for basil in a pesto sauce. Blossoms can be stuffed with goat cheese or hummus, and are also great on top of soups.

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Pea Blossoms

There are two types of pea blossom flowers, one is edible and one is poisonous so make sure you know the difference before tossing this flower into your salad! Blossoms from the Pisum species are the edible ones, the more ornamental blossoms are best left for bouquets as their seeds and blossoms are considered poisonous.  You can eat the peas, pods, and even the tendrils of sweet peas. The color of the Pisum species is typically white, sometimes with purple hues.

pea blossoms
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Taste: Blossoms are sweet, crunchy, and taste like peas!

Try it: In a salad or raw with hummus

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Roses

Roses might be found in your high school corsage or in a Valentine’s bouquet but they should definitely be eaten! There are many different types of roses, which provide many different flavors. Generally, the darker the color is the deeper the flavor will be. They are rich in antioxidants like polyphenols that may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Roses have a cooling effect on the body so they may reduce fevers. They are also a mild diuretic- rose petal tea is often recommended as a digestive tonic and thought to restore balance in digestive system.


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Taste: Varies depending on type of rose and color but it can range from sweet fruit flavors
like strawberry and apple to mint and spice

Try it: Steep fresh petals in simmering water for five minutes to make rose petal tea and
soothe a mild sore throat or open blocked bronchial tubes. Pair rose petals with peaches for a floral take on Peach Melba!


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Squash blossoms are unfortunately, most commonly found battered and fried in restaurants. However, there are much better ways of consuming these healthy flowers in order to get all their nutrients. Squash Blossoms contain important carotenoids. They are also high in calcium and iron and especially high in vitamins A and C. The blossoms are very delicate so treat them with care!

Taste: Mildly of raw squash

Try it: Add on top of homemade pizza with fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes, include them in a frittata with other herbs, or stir into a pasta sauce.

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Sunflowers

The seeds of these flowers are well liked by many, and their oil is great for cooking! Sunflower seeds are rich in a number of nutrients that have been shown to protect against cardiovascular and other diseases and to act as antioxidants and anti-carcinogens. It also contains high levels of vitamin E.

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Taste: Unopened buds taste similar to artichokes and can be steamed just like them. The seeds taste a lot like peanuts.

Try it: Infuse petals in boiling water and drink as a traditional remedy for menstrual pain.

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Violets, Violas, Pansies, and Johnny Jumps

These flowers come in beautiful purples, yellows, oranges, and pastel hues. They are a great source of vitamin C and E as well as magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. Pansies have been used for their excellent anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and cleansing properties.


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Taste: Sweet, perfume flavor that work well in salads. The petals flavor is extremely mild, but if you eat the whole flower they have a winter green overtone. When the petals are cooked, they taste a lot like spinach.

Try it: Make great decorations for sorbets, frosted cakes, and other desserts

Source: LA Yoga Magazine. June 2011. Volume 10. “Edible
Flowers” by Ren Jen Ford.

Oh! and here’s a few others I found!

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