Flowers are such gifts of nature. Any time of year in California you can find something in bloom. Even in our severe drought, nature finds a way of adding some beauty and color to the world. I love flowers in my yard, as well as cut flowers in my home. They brighten my mood and always seem to calm me and make me happy.  What I’d never quite embraced was the idea of flowers in my food.

A couple of days ago, I have a wonderful lunch at a friend’s home and she had made a salad with a variety of home grown flowers on top.  Edible FlowersShe is an incredible gardener and beautiful cook, so I readily enjoyed both the beauty of the salad and flavors of these flowers.

I did some reading about edible flowers and here are a few things I learned and suggestions. First, be very careful if you have asthma or other allergies. Also, proceed with caution with purchased flowers due to the use of pesticides and herbicides. And they should be used sparingly, too much of a pretty blossom can cause digestive problems.

Here’s a few ideas to use the petals of the flowers in your meals.

For salads or desserts…..

Nasturtiums–a peppery taste, similar to watercress
Johnny-Jump-Ups (miniature pansies)—a mild wintergreen taste
Gardenias—a light, sweet flavor
Carnations—a spicy, clove-like flavor
Marigolds–spicy to bitter flavor
Scented geraniums–flavors vary from lemon to mint
Roses–sweet, aromatic flavor (remove the bitter white portion of the petal)
Lavender and violets are sweet and pretty additions to ice cream and cakes

Do a little research, maybe starting at your local farmers market.
I’m eager to learn more, so please feel free to share your comments about other uses of flowers in foods you’ve tried and enjoyed.