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Edible Flowers & Plants

Edible Flowers

“A nasturtium by any other name would taste as sweet.”

How many times have you drank or eaten flowers? Probably more often than you realize. Flowers such as calendula, chamomile, dandelions, hibiscus and pansies are just a sample of the many flavorful delights found in your own backyard. These and others are enjoyed in both your garden as well as in salads, soups, teas, desserts and drinks; often unbeknownst to you. So next time you sit down and enjoy a bowl of fresh strawberries, why not add violets as a garnish?

Here are some general guidelines for using flowers as an edible garnish or incorporating them into food:
  • Make sure the flower is edible before consumption.
  • If pest control products are necessary, use only those products labeled for use on edible crops, otherwise use organically grown flowers.
  • Do not eat flowers from nurseries, garden centers or flower shops. Often they have been chemically treated with fertilizers or pest control products.
  • Do not eat flowers growing on the sides of the road as they may have been treated with an herbicide.
  • Eat only the flower petals - remove pistils and stamens.
  • If you have allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually because some flowers may aggravate allergies.
  • The flavour of different flowers may change throughout the season.

Collecting flowers:
  • Pick flowers when they are fully open - unless buds are desired.
  • Sample a few flowers prior to harvesting.
  • Remove pistils and stamens - pollen can detract from flavour as well as cause allergic reactions.
  • After harvest - place long-stemmed flowers in water and place in cool location. Place short-stemmed flowers between layers of damp paper towel or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
  • Immediately before using, gently wash flowers to remove dirt and check for insects.

 

Edible Trees and Shrubs

Apples

Apricot

Crabapple

Elderberry**

Pear

Plum

Lilac

Linden

Rose

**Use only flower and fruit as all other parts are poisonous – including the stem of the flowers

 

Edible Bulbs & Perennials

Allium

Angelica

Anise-Hyssop

Beebalm

Borage

Catmint

Cattails

Chamomile

Chives

Chrysanthemum

Clover

Dandelion

Daylily

English Daisy

Evening Primrose

Gladiola

Goutweed

Grape Hyacinth

Hollyhock

Honeysuckle

Hops

Johnny Jump Up

Lavender

Lilies

Mallow

Pinks

Primrose

Queen of the Meadow

Rhubarb

Sage

Sorrel

Sweet Rocket

Sweet William

Sweet Woodruff

Thyme

Tulips (petals)

Violet

Yarrow

Yucca

 

Edible Annuals and Houseplants

African Violet

Anise

Artichoke

Arugula

Bachelor’s Button

Basil

Bay Laurel

Borage

Calendula

Caraway

Carnations

Cardamon

Catnip

Chamomile

Chervil

Chives

Cilantro

Coriander

Cress

Cumin

Dianthus

Dill

Fennel

Fuchsia

Gardenia

Garlic

Geranium

Hibiscus

Horseradish

Jasmine

Lemon Balm

Lemongrass

Lovage

Marjoram

Marigold

Mint

Mustard

Nasturtium

Oregano

Pansy

Parsley

Passion Flower

Peppers

Petunia

Pineapple Sage

Poppy

Pumpkin

Purselane

Queen Anne’s Lace

Rosemary

Safflower

Sage

Snapdragon

Savory

Snapdragon

Savory

Scarlet Runner Bean

Scented Geranium

Squash Blossom

Summer Savory

Sunflower

Tarragon

Thyme

Tuberous Begonia

Violet

 

 


Plants to Avoid - POISONOUS

Anemone

Anthurium

Autumn Crocus

Azalea

Baneberry

Blanket Flowers

Bleeding Heart

Bloodroot

Boxwood

Burning Bush

Buttercup

Butterfly Weed

Caladium

Calla

Castor Bean

Cherry Laurel

Chinese Lantern

Chrysanthemum

Clematis

Columbine

Daffodil

Death Camas

Delphinium (larkspur)

Datura

Dumbcane

Elephant Ears

Dour o’Clock

Foxglove

Gasplant

Giant Elephant Ears

Hellebore

Hyacinth

Hydrangea

Iris

Ivy (English)

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jerusalem Cherry

Jonquil

Lantana

Leopard’s Bane

Lily-of-the-valley

Lobelia

Marsh Marigold

Mayapple

Mistletoe

Monkshood

Morning Glory

Mountain Laurel

Nightshade

Ohio Buckeye

Oleander

Periwinkle

Philodendron

Pittosporum

Potato

Rhododendron

Schefflera

Spurge

Star of Bethlehem

Sweet Pea