Edible Flowers

If you always figured that flowers were just pretty, but otherwise had no place at a dinner table, think again! There are plenty flowers that are edible and will make a great addition to any meal that you cook. Take a look at the list below, but remember that before you go plucking from your yard or your park that you need to make sure that the blossoms you use are free from pesticides and other unpleasant additives. Similarly, don’t count on being able to simply graze through your garden, as some flowers can make you quite ill. Identify them thoroughly before you start serving them to your friends and love ones!

Alliums
Alliums are a general word for the family that contains garlic, chives and leeks, and the flowers that top the plants are delicate white or pink and quite lovely. You can use these flowers when a very mild, oniony flavor is desired, and it is worth noting that the whole plant is edible.

Dandelion
This plant is commonly considered a weed, but when you don’t spray it with poisons, it can be quite good for you! This is another plant where the whole growth is edible, from the leaves, which make a great salad addition, to the buds, which are excellent fried in butter. The roots can also be used to make a powerful alcohol.

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Lavender
This garden favorite has a wonderfully sweet and floral flavor, and you’ll find that dried lavender makes a great seasoning. You can also use the flowers as a beautiful garnish for ice cream and sorbets, and you’ll find that the delicate note of citrus will help keep heavy sauces and stews from being too overpowering. This is an excellent dessert flower.

Marigolds
These sunny blossoms are have a sharp taste, and depending on the species, can be spicy or peppery or rather bitter. While you should never eat the leaves, the petals are quite tasty and can be sprinkled on top of soups, pastas and salads for a lovely colorful accent. You can also use these petals to tiny soups and butter.

Sunflowers
Sunflowers are best eaten while they are still buds; they are still quite tender and they have a delicate taste that is reminiscent of artichokes. Sunflower buds are quite delicious steamed and then dressed in a butter sauce. The petals, once the flower opens, can be used in teas or as accents to salads.

Violets
These purple flowers will give your food a sweet smell and a gentle, sweet flavor. The leaves and flowers do quite well in salads, and the flowers will provide a striking addition when used to garnish desserts and iced tea. The leaves can be cooked like spinach, and the petals are quite beautiful when crystallized in sugar.

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