31 – Coriander a.k.a. Cilantro
Personally, I detest cilantro, in any form. My taste buds say that it tastes like soap – Dial soap. What? Did I hear someone ask how I would know what Dial soap tastes like? Oh, I eat it sometimes, when I have nothing else better to do.
No,… that’s just not true. My mother liked to administer a dose of it on my tongue, if she even thought I might possibly have sassed her. She was quick with the Dial soap. I cannot imagine what she would have done, if I ever used a bad word – which I never did. She would probably have forced me to eat a whole bar of Fels-Naptha soap, or something worse!
I am seriously considering “divorcing” my oldest son and his dearly beloved wife, because of the rhapsodies they go into, about cilantro! No, couldn’t do that – I love them both too much. So much for “inherited” tastes!
For your culinary pleasure, I forced myself to find some recipes using cilantro flowers. I am only doing this, because I know how healthy they are to ingest, and millions of people love cilantro. So, here is what I found: cilantro flowers can be used in any recipe that calls for cilantro leaves. The flowers are used in salsa, guacamolé, salads, soups, omelets, cilantro butter, and just about anything else you can concoct using cilantro leaves.
So, the “gist of it” is, that coriander a.k.a. cilantro, flowers, are edible, even though I don’t think they are fit to eat!
32 – Bee Balm – Neither Bee Nor Balm
How does THIS botanical name roll off your tongue – Monarda didyma? Try it – it sounds “weird”. What a strange name, for such a beautiful blossom.
Isn’t it lovely? Just look at it ! ->
We found a few recipes online, using bee balm blossoms. One of them bears quite an interesting name – Hummingbird Bread. Doesn’t that sound, well…interesting?
In addition, we discovered that bee balm blossoms are a marvelous compliment to any seafood dish, but they are also used in fruit salad, in curries, with beef, pork, chicken, duck, rice, and added to, or floated in citrus punch.
The flowers can be frozen successfully, and will keep well for a couple of months, retaining all of their flavor. They make a great addition to any homemade teas, tossed salads, and are a striking garnish for any entrée!
33 – Dill – My Favorite “Weed”
When we lived in Ohio, we used to have quite a bit of dill planted right outside of our back door. My mother used to send me out there, to cut off some dill flowers, called “heads”, to put into our food.
She used them to make something she called “placintas”. My godmother, who was from Romania, taught her how to do it. Technically, the word “placinta”, in Romania, just means “pie”. There, they are made with phyllo dough, and filled with a veritable smorgasbord of different fresh ingredients. Typical of my mother, she made her Dill Placintas with eggs, flour, milk, dill blossoms, and Swiss cheese, but no phyllo dough. I don’t think she even made any in the last 40 years, but I can still remember how good they were, like it was yesterday!
As a youngster, I cannot remember ever eating any part of the plant, other than the dill flowers. They were SO good! Now that I am grown, I eat dill all of the time, planted by my husband.
Dill heads are commonly used in sauces, with fish, in omelettes, and of course – in homemade dill PICKLES!
34 – Rosemary – For Remembrance
As much rosemary as I eat…you’d think that I would have eaten the blossoms! Did you know that the herb supposedly signifies “remembrance”? Well, if that’s true, you’d think I would remember, but, I didn’t! Oh, well…better late than never, I guess.
One of the most interesting things I have ever read about rosemary, I saw on The Epicentre. It was, that a vigorously growing rosemary bush is an indication that a woman rules the household. Well, it’s a miracle that my husband and I have any rosemary, then – because I don’t need to be in charge at home. I have been in charge of my businesses, for years, and it’s not all that it’s “cracked up” to be!
Want some ideas for using rosemary flowers in your cooking? Well, we found some, that piqued our interest, such as: Lemon Rosemary Chicken, Rosemary Homemade Potato Chips, Fresh Berry and Rosemary Fool, Rosemary Flower Stew, Spinach and Rosemary Soup, and Rice and Rosemary Blossom Salad.
35 – Sunflower – The State Flower of Kansas
Eat sunflower seeds? Of course! Use sunflower oil? I have. Eat the flower of the sunflower? Never? Well, you can!
Now, I must tell you – there are varied opinions on this one. Some sources say the petals are poisonous. Other sources state emphatically – they are not! Our recommendation is to do your own research, but the consensus is, that the petals of the sunflower, eaten in moderation, are healthy and nutritious. As with anything else, eat them in moderation.
Always be cautious, with any edible flowers. Eat them only if you know for a fact, that they are organically grown. Some people add them to potato salad, salad dressings, and mixed green salads, but If you don’t wish to eat them – just use them to garnish your entrées, decorate your cakes, and brighten up your meals.
36 – Basil – An International Favorite!
I have a husband, who loves to put basil leaves on his fresh tomatoes, but neither of us knew that the flowers of basil were edible, until recently. Now, the bees knew it, but none of them told me. To honeybees, African Blue Basil blossoms are like catnip to cats. They absolutely love it, and I am growing to love basil blossoms!
Basil flowers come in a variety of colors, and flavors, and are used by chefs, worldwide. They lend themselves beautifully to seafood dishes, soups, and salads, and we located some dishes made with them, that sound delightful. You might like: Cheese and Basil Flower Omelette, Cold Avocado and Carrot Soup with Basil Flowers, or Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Basil Flowers. My hat is off, to these creative chefs!
37 – Pineapple Sage – The Name Says It All…
The pineapple sage blooms with an extraordinarily beautiful red flower. I read online, where one enthusiast said that pineapple sage should be called “Hummingbird Highway”. That’s because it attracts hummingbirds like it was “hummingbird bait”.
Pineapple sage flowers lend themselves deliciously to any recipe that calls for pineapple. From the Sooke Harbor House, in Vancouver, B.C., we found an entrée called Smoked Salmon and House Cured Salmon, with pineapple sage in it, that simply sounds delicious. Online, we also found recipes for: Roast Pork with Sage Flower Sauce, Pineapple Sage Salsa, Barbecue with Pineapple Sage Flowers, Banana Pineapple Sage Smoothie, and Pineapple Sage Flower Jelly, Pineapple Sage Corn Fritters Savory, and Pineapple Sage Pound Cake. What an unusual, delightful, delicate, edible flower, whose brilliant red color, alone – is enough to spruce up any dish!
38 – Cattails a.k.a. Cat-O’-Nine-Tails
I’ll bet you don’t think of cattails as a flower, but they are! I can remember seeing them, when I lived up north, and hearing that you could eat them, but I have never had the opportunity to try them. Have you?
They adorn the wetlands and marshes of the Northern Hemisphere, and are one blossom that the Native Americans feasted upon. Cattails don’t look like flowers, they more closely resemble an overdone hot dog, but they are actually the flower of the plant.
Cattails are best eaten when they are young. We found such dishes as: Cattail Pollen Pancakes, Cattails Pilaf, Cat on the Cob with Garlic Butter, Cattail Casserole, Cattail Flower Pickles, Cattail Barley Soup, Cattail Muffins, and Boiled Cattail Wild Rice.
“Wildman” Steve Brill, shares that he eats sliced cattail hearts, sautéed in sesame oil, with wild carrots and ginger. Another daring “live off the land” adventurous soul made a recipe that I’d rather NOT try – Toasted Porcupine Stuffed with Watercress and Roasted Cattails Roots, no matter HOW good it is!
This one’s botanical name is EASY – it is Typha. How simple is that? At last, one we can spell, and pronounce. How refreshing! Oh, by the way – it’s “TIE-fah”, if you have trouble saying it.
39 – Gladiolus – Glamorous Good Eating!
No matter how you spell it – gladiola, or gladiolus, or gladioli – that last one is the plural form – they are all the same gorgeous, edible flowers. This incredible photo of a Gladiolus imbricatus, that’s its botanical name – gives you a close-up view of the beauty of the bloom!
You can use gladiola blooms in any salad, to add interest and color. Their mild flavor and soft texture blends beautifully with almost any ingredient that you could imagine to add to a tossed salad. We have discovered recipes for Gladiolus Sorbet, Stuffed Gladiolus, Gladiola Flower Omelette, and of course, Candied Gladiolus.
In my opinion, they are best used as a garnish to main entrées. They literally “steal the show” with their extraordinary blooms, and add an air of elegance to any culinary presentation.
40 – Chamomile – The Relaxing Blossom
Chamomile is the national flower of Russia, and this humble flower has more attributes than I can comfortably list. Both chamomile, and camomile are accurate spellings. The photo is of German chamomile, which looks a lot like a daisy, to me!
Its name literally means “earth apple”, which is probably due to chamomile’s apple-like aroma. Most of us who are familiar with medicinal herbs, are familiar with chamomile’s renowned health benefits. However, a benefit that is not usually discussed, is that the petals – are edible!
There are lots of recipes available, using chamomile flowers. We found: Chamomile Cauliflower Soup, Chicken a la Spring, Chamomile Risotto, Chamomile Rice Pudding, Berry French Toast with Chamomile, Chamomile Orange Cupcakes, Chamomile Cookies, Honey Chamomile Ice Cream, Chamomile Berry Salad, Cucumber and Chamomile Salad, and Sesame Ginger with Chamomile Vinaigrette.
What Do 31 – 40 Taste Like?
You may feel differently about it, but most people think these taste:
- Coriander a.k.a. Cilantro – I think, like SOAP; others think – “heavenly”;
- Bee Balm – minty;
- Dill – just like the leaves, but stronger;
- Rosemary – like the leaves;
- Sunflowers – like chrysanthemums, bittersweet;
- Basil – like the basil leaves, or like mint or lemony;
- Pineapple Sage – like pineapple;
- Cattails – like corn on the cob to some, and squash, to others’
- Gladiolas – like lettuce;
- Chamomile – like apples, like honey, bitter – lots of opinions on this one.
Edible Flowers 41-50 are: Fuchsia, Lemon Balm, Pea Blossoms, Begonias, Pineapple Guava, Johnny Jump Ups, Plum Blossoms, Dianthus, Apple Blossoms, Geranium.
A “Forgotten” Book You Need To Get
Recent interest in edible flowers makes this book a must, for every serious chef who wants the inside scoop on adding flower blossoms to their cuisine. Published in 1999, it is just one of the best cookbooks to be had, for those who like the unusual and exotic in their daily fare!
41 – Fuchsia – Almost Too Lovely To Eat!
I used to buy my mother fuchsia plants – she so loved them. I had no idea that those gorgeous draping blooms were edible!
Their extravagant looks are a conversation piece, no matter how you use them – as a glistening garnish, floating in iced drinks, or surrounding your stew. The deep royal purple centers, that seem to burst forth from the brilliant red outer petals, are a sight to behold. It almost seems a shame to eat them!
Some of the extravagantly lovely recipes we found for using fuchsia flowers, are: Fuchsia Flower Fruit Salad, Fuchsia Flower Jam, Fuchsia Jelly, Fuchsia Jello, Candied Fuchsia Flowers. The “extravagance” comes from the beauty of the blooms, but the recipes are very simple. Fuchsia flowers blend beautifully into any sweet sauces, add intriguing color and flavor to pork entrées, and look marvelous floated atop any cold soups. They are simply stupendously lovely blossoms!
42 – Lemon Balm
Lemon balm, is Melissa officinalis, botanically speaking. The first word of its botanical name “Melissa” is Greek for “bees”! It is in the same Lamiaceae family as rosemary, thyme, oregano.
At long last, this valuable, interesting plant is getting the attention it so richly deserves – on the table!
Just look at its blossom – isn’t that beautiful? It reminds me of a trumpet. The flowers are: candied, used to garnish salads, incorporated into sorbets and ice cream, sprinkled over rice, or added to any recipe that calls for the herb.
One very interesting fact about lemon balm flowers, is to be found on Melissa Morrison’s webpage – Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy: Lemon Balm. She tells us that lemon balm flowers were an essential ingredient in the famous “Carmelite Water” perfume recipe. According to her informative page, Carmelite friars were responsible for making the perfume, and the recipe was a closely guarded secret. It was actually patented under the name: “Eau de Melisse des Carmes”, and patents were issued under the reigns of the French rulers Louis XIV,XV, and XVI. Her information is most definitely worth the trip to her webpage, for historical interest and enlightenment about this extremely interesting herb, and its flowers.
43 – Snow Pea Blossoms
Do not eat “Sweet Pea” flower blossoms, or any other ornamental pea blossoms – they are toxic – but the blossoms of the common pea, and the snow pea, are edible. This darling photo is of snow pea blossoms, aren’t they lovely?
Sugar Snap Pea flowers are also edible, but these two mentioned, are the ONLY pea flowers that are recommended eating. There are lots of different varieties of peas, so if you are going to eat pea blossoms; be certain that the variety you have is edible…or…do without!
Because their flavor combines well with so many other foods, recipes for eating snow pea blossoms, are easy to create. A few that have been tried successfully, are: Snow Pea Flowers and Shoots Sauteed with Garlic and Oil – called “Do Miau”, Macaroni Salad with Carrot and Snow Pea Flowers, and the usual Candied Snow Pea Flowers.
44 – Begonia – Just The Tuberous Ones!
This begonia – begonia tuberhybrida is an edible flower you will just have to try! You’ll see what it tastes like, below. The flavor will most likely surprise you – it surprised me!
Warning – Eat only the petals of the “tuberous hybrid begonias”. Others can be toxic. “When in doubt – leave it out!”
Here are some of the different ways we found chefs using begonia flowers: Begonia Cheese Ball, Citrus Dip Begonia Blossom, Smoked Salmon Mousse with Dill and Begonia Petals, Begonia Flower Sorbet, Edible Flower Canapés with Begonias. For a real treat, try this one: Sautéed Alligator with Begonia Sauce, from the Eat The Weeds website. Yes, that is really the recipe! I cannot say that I’ve tried it, though…
With all of the different colors of begonia flowers that grow, you can really create some beautiful rainbow-hued dishes, with flavors that will amaze your diners !
45 – Pineapple Guava – A Feast For The Eyes!
This one is almost too beautiful to eat, isn’t it? This has to be one of the most arresting flowers I have ever seen. The technical name for the plant, is Feijoa sellowiana but, it is commonly called pineapple guava or guavasteen. Most people are familiar with its fruit, but not many people know that you can eat the blossoms.
Pineapple guava hails from Brazil, originally, but it is grown all over South America, Central America, New Zealand, Australia, and even in Scotland. We have actually found references to people successfully growing it – worldwide!
Predominantly in tropical countries, the flowers are used in: Pineapple Guava Flower Yogurt, Guavasteen Flower Ice Cream, Pineapple Guava Jam, Fejoi Fritters, Pineapple Guava Flowers Marmalade,and Pineapple Guava Flower Fruit Salad. In the US, Pineapple Guava is just getting its “just desserts”, as a delicious, edible tropical fruit – with flowers that are a delight to the eyes, and a pleasure to the palate.
46 – Johnny Jump Ups
The common name for these dainty flowers, is tri-color violas, but this type is often referred to, as Johnny Jump Ups. Wait until you get to the section below, and find out what THEY taste like!
One “neat” thing about them, is that you can use their petals to thicken stew, soup, or sauces. Just remember – their flavor is more distinctive than other thickeners, such as flour, arrowroot, cream of tartar, or potato flakes. Using them may result in a very memorable meal – one that does not conjure up warm thoughts of repetition, in the diners’ minds!
The Backyard Herbalist, Ernestina Parziale, has a recipe for Johnny-Jump-Up Jelly that is simple, and delightfully different from most jellies on the grocer’s shelves. We also came across Johnny Jump Up Spring Salad, Johnny Jump Up Cider, Johnny Jump Up Mint Jam, Johnny Jump Up Mint Ice Cream, and Johnny Jump Up Whipped Cream Cheese. One more you might not want to miss, is an item from Sugar’s Tea Room : Lavender Cookie topped with Blue Icing and a Johnny Jump-Up Blossom.
47 – Plum Blossoms
Did anyone else know that you could eat plum blossoms? Not only are plums delicious – plum blossoms are delicious! Of course, you won’t have as many plums, if you eat a lot of the blossoms, but plum trees are loaded with them!
The Chinese refer to plum blossoms as one of the “Four Gentlemen”. The other three are orchids, bamboo, and chrysanthemums. Quite an honor, don’t you think? Even though the Chinese plum more closely resembles an apricot,- it is still, a plum.
Here are a few ways we found, to use plum blossoms in the kitchen: Candied Plum Blossoms, Plum Blossom Sorbet, Plum Blossom Jelly, and Plum Blossom Salad. From Frog Hollow Farm, we found – Plum Blossom Ice Cream with Frog Hollow Farm Plum Sauce and Pound Cake. As sweet as they are, we need more good recipes for them, don’t you think?
48 – Dianthus – The Divine Flower
The name literally means “God flower”. Well known to the home gardener, as pinks, not many know that almost all dianthus flowers are edible. Carnations are a variety of dianthus, as are Sweet Williams, both of which are featured here, in our list of fifty flowers that you can eat.
From The Free Library website, we found a recipe using dianthus petals that has a delightful name. How does Purple Flash Spinach Salad “hit you”? You can also make: Dianthus Flower Fondue, Dianthus Petal Butter, Dianthus Blossom Honey, Dianthus Mixed Greens Salad, Pickled Dianthus Buds, Candied Pinks, Dianthus Pink Jello and Candied Dianthus Blossoms. Get busy being creative, and suggest some more!
49 – Apple Blossoms
Another surprising edible flower! Now, who would think that apple blossoms are edible? Oh, I see; everyone knew that, but me! That just figures…
Did you know that apple blossoms are the state flower of Michigan and the state floral emblem of Arkansas? Well, they are. I didn’t know that, either, until recently.
We found very few recipes using apple blossoms, but several references to Candied Apple Blossoms. One recipe, using apple blossoms, sounded very intriguing: Agis Apple Blossom Compote, from The Ultimate Zena Cookbook. Other than one more reference, that I found, to Baked Apple Flowers, it appears that the field is wide open for novel apple blossom recipes. If you happen to have some, let us know!
50 – Geranium – Especially Scented Ones!
Most of us are very familiar with geraniums, but we don’t usually eat them. But, we can! My mother just loved geraniums. I didn’t like them at all – but, I didn’t know then, that they were edible! Whenever I used to think about geraniums, my mind would conjure up a big ball of red flowers, all in a cluster – to me, those were geraniums. Well, they didn’t smell good to me, and we had a lot of them to smell!
Well, lo and behold! I found out that geraniums not only come in many, many different colors – like the spectacular blue one in the photo – but they are delightfully tasty to eat, too! One very interesting aspect of geraniums, is that – according to the color, the taste of the blossoms is specific to the color. I haven’t tasted one yet, but understand that the lemon-scented ones actually taste like lemon, and from there – the taste extravaganza goes on! There are many articles online, about cooking with geraniums. They generally say that scented geraniums can taste like apple, ginger, peppermint, chocolate, nutmeg, and lime, to name a few.
Some of the recipes of interest that we found, were: Rose-Geranium Pound Cake, Victorian Rose Geranium Cake, Apple Geranium Jelly, Citrus-Scented Geranium Cookies, Herbed Butter with Geranium Leaves, Scented Geranium Dressing, Rose Geranium Punch, Rhubarb Pear Crunch Scented with Rose Geranium, Fresh Peaches Gratin with Rose Geranium and Cardamom, and TONS more!
What Do 41 – 50 Taste Like?
The last ten edible flowers, taste:
- Fuchsia – tangy;
- Lemon Balm – tangy, like citrus;
- Pea blossoms – like peas – fancy that!
- Begonias – like citrus;
- Pineapple guava – like a floral melon, moist and crisp;
- Johnny jump ups – like wintergreen mint;
- Plum blossoms – sweet;
- Dianthus – spicy cloves or nutmeg;
- Apple blossoms – some say “appley”, some say flowery – all say eat in moderation;
- Geranium – like many different flavors, from lemony to minty, and everything in between.