wikiHow to Choose Edible Flowers

Three Parts:Selecting the Type of FlowerFinding a Safe ProviderAvoiding Pitfalls When Choosing Edible Flowers

Edible culinary flowers are useful for a variety of purposes. You can have fun cooking a meal, making candy, preparing a salad, or decorating a dinner plate. The key is learning which flowers are safe to consume and what kind of flowers would suit your tastes. Be careful when choosing edible flowers. You want to make sure you get flowers from a reputable provider so you can consume them safely.

Part 1
Selecting the Type of Flower

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    Look into fruit flowers. Fruit flowers are a popular form of edible flower because of their fruity, sweet flavor. They are often used in pastries, beverages, and as garnishes. You usually eat the petals of a fruit flower instead of the stem or pistil.[1]
    • Apple blossom flowers can add a mild flavor to fruit dishes, and can also be used as a garnish. Just make sure to eat apple blossom flowers in moderation, as too much can be toxic.
    • Banana blossoms can be cooked or eaten raw after the tough exterior is removed to get to the soft, white flowers. You need to set the flowers in water until the sap drains, however.
    • Citrus blossoms, when distilled in water, are frequently used in beverages. Elderberry blossoms have a sweet scent and flavor and are often used to make wine.
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    Consider herb flowers. Herb flowers imitate the taste and texture of actual herbs. They can be used to add flavor to a dish, as a garnish, in salads, and in tea.[2]
    • Most herbs you would buy at the grocery store, like chives and cilantro, come in flower form. Usually, you would use the petals from such flowers as a garnish or spice in a dish.
    • Some herb flowers, such as basil, may have a milder flavor than the herb. These flowers can be great if you want to add just a touch of a particular flavor to a dish.
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    Try vegetable flowers. Many vegetables are actually flowers. You can harvest the flowers of a plant like broccoli before it's fully grows. Vegetable flowers are great for salads, sandwiches, and stir fries.[3]
    • Broccoli florets are actually a flower. If you harvest broccoli when it's still in the form of yellow flowers, you'll end up with a mild broccoli flavor that can be great for salads. Young leaves from artichokes, corn shoots, and squash provide a similarly mild vegetable flavor.
    • The seeds of okra can be eaten, and many people find it has an energizing effect. Okra seeds are sometimes used as a substitute for coffee.
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    Choose versatile flowers. The taste of some flowers works well in a wide range of recipes. If you cook with flowers frequently, go for flowers that have a lot of different uses. This way, you can use your chosen flowers in multiple recipes.
    • Lavender is ideal for many culinary uses. Tea, cookies, syrup, cake decoration, sorbets, ice cream, jelly, jam, custard, wine, and vinegar, are just a few of lavender’s endless uses. Lavender imparts it's own flavor, along with slight tones of citrus.[4]
    • Rose petals are renowned for many culinary uses, such as syrups, decorations on icing, ice cream, dessert garnishes, jellies, jams, flavored butters, and ice cubes. [5]
    • Chive blossoms are great for savory dishes and will impart a light onion flavor. Garlic blossoms will impart a fresh and light garlic flavor to a salad or dish.
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    Choose flowers for beverages. Edible flowers can be used to enhance the flavor of a drink and provide a pop of color. If you're a big drinker of tea or flavored water, go for flowers that flavor beverages.
    • Hibiscus has cranberry and citrus notes that are great for drinks. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be made with hibiscus. Hibiscus is slightly acidic, so use sparingly.
    • Rose petals are famously used to make rose water.
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    Choose flowers for salads. Making a garden salad or fruit salad using edible flowers is an easy way to incorporate them into a meal. You'll end up really enhancing the flavor of an average salad by sprinkling it with a variety of edible flowers.
    • The entire nasturtium plant is edible. They are a perennial favorite for summer salads. Easy to grow, they bring an explosion of color to any salad. Nasturtium have a slight peppery taste. The seed pods are even used as a replacement for peppercorns and capers.[6]
    • Carnations will add a sweet, nutmeg-like flavor. Use them in salads and as a garnish.[7]
    • Petunias are mild tasting and good as a salad garnish.
    • Pansies are delicate little paper-like flowers that are great for adorning salads. Pansies have a slightly sweet flavor. They also work great in fruit salad.
    • Violets are perfect for salads and are also a beautiful plate garnish.

Part 2
Finding a Safe Provider

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    Identify the source. The use of chemicals make most flowers provided by a florist inedible. This also applies to flowers bought in a grocery store. You want to know where flowers came from, and who grew them, to make sure they're safe to eat.[8]
    • Unless labeled as edible, never eat flowers from a florist. Flowers from a florist are usually sprayed with chemicals to maintain a certain appearance. If you talk to the florist, and he or she assures you the flowers are safe to eat, they may be edible. However, unless the florists specifically tells you they are edible, do not eat flowers from a florist.
    • It's unlikely that grocery store flowers are safe for consumption. Like flowers sold by a florist, they are usually sprayed with chemicals. It's doubtful a grocery store worker would have any information for you regarding the chemicals used on these types of flowers.
    • Growing edible flowers in your garden is another way to ensure they are safe to eat. If you have the space, and enjoy eating flowers, look into creating a flower garden in your backyard.
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    Avoid flowers sprayed with pesticides. All flowers grown with pesticides and chemicals contain toxins and are not edible. If you aren't sure if chemicals were used, avoid them.[9]
    • Look for organic flowers, but be aware that some organic flowers only limit the use of toxins.
    • Your local farmer's market is the best place to buy edible flowers. The farmers will generally be able to provide you with information about how their flowers were grown and let you know if they're safe to eat. Flowers sold at a farmer's market are generally less likely to have been grown with heavy use of pesticides.
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    See if you can find edible flowers in the grocery store. Certain grocery stores may sell edible flowers. These flowers will be labeled as edible on the container, and may not be sold in the regular flower aisle. You can try asking a worker whether your local grocery store sells edible flowers.[10]
    • You may be less likely to find edible flowers at a conventional grocery store. Try an organic food store, or a food co-op.
    • Never eat flowers from a grocery store unless they are specifically labeled as edible.

Part 3
Avoiding Pitfalls When Choosing Edible Flowers

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    Do not harvest flowers from the street. If you know a type of edible flower you're craving grows on the roadside, it may be tempting to pick it. However, you should never harvest flowers from the roadside. These flowers are not safe for consumption.[11]
    • Roadside flowers are exposed to contamination from passing cards. Flowers on the road may also be occasionally sprayed with chemicals as part of a city beautification program.
    • Livestock and dogs may also eliminate near the flowers, which can further contaminate them.
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    Store the flowers safely. Once you obtain edible flowers, you'll want to store them in a safe place. Proper storage of edible flowers can help them last longer and remain safe for use.[12]
    • A plastic container should be used over a plastic bag when storing flowers, as a container is less likely to crush the flowers.
    • You should also place a moist piece of paper in a flower container to keep the flowers from wilting.
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    Clean flowers before consumption. This is especially important if you harvested the flowers from your backyard. You'll want to run the flowers underneath water to get rid of bugs and dirt. You can also dust off dirt with a makeup brush or small paint brush. After cleaning the flowers, set them aside to dry on a paper towel.[13]
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    Make sure to harvest the edible portions. Not every part of a flower is edible. When preparing flowers for consumption, make sure to harvest the edible portions. Usually, you should only be eating the leaves of a flower and not the stem or pistil.[14]
    • Sepal is a portion of the flower just underneath the petal. A flower's sepal looks like a cluster of green leaves. It should be removed before you can safely eat the flower.
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    Watch for allergic reactions. Flowers that are edible may still be hazardous to your health if you have allergies. Pay attention to any allergic reactions that you may have when handling or eating the flowers.[15]
    • If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash or hives, cease eating the flowers and contact your physician.
    • If you have a pollen allergy, do not eat edible flowers.


  • The best time to harvest flowers is just after the dew has dried. This is usually early to mid-morning. Early evening can work as well, after the heat of the sun has faded.[16]
  • Do not pick flowers in the middle of the day, as the heat can dry out the flavor. This will cause a drop in both flavor and color.

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