After the welcome and belated arrival of Spring in the UK, I have been inspired by my Instagram feed (particularly Lori A Stern) to bake some biscuits with edible flowers. Problem is, we have had a rubbish Spring so my garden is missing an abundance of edible flowers and the few I do have I can’t bare to eat as I am enjoying them in the garden so much, so in the meantime I have been researching what I should be growing to make sure I have a good supply as the year unfolds.
After some research I have found this wonderful list of edible plants from Maddocks Farm Organics, (they supply also if, like me you are lacking) and I thought I would share it. It has a good of list of easily recognisable flowers with a note on usage and flavour, many of which I know are also easy to grow.
I am hoping to have some of my own edible petals in the next few weeks, so look out for the cookie recipe, in the meantime I may just have to try some of these from Maddocks Farm and as well as a batch of cookies make some pretty salads and pastas.
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Small delicate star shaped flowers have a cool cucumber flavour and make a wonderful garnish. They are traditionally used as a garnish for Pimms and look wonderful frozen in ice cubes.
Broad bean flowers come in a range of colours and have a wonderful beany flavour. They are fabulous in a salad or work beautifully with an omelette or other egg dishes.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Only the petals can be used. They have a tangy almost citrus flavour and are fabulous in salads, folded into pasta and in a citrus butter for melting over fish or chicken.
Chicory (Chicorium intybus)
The petals of chicory can be used and have the same bitter flavour as the plants. They come in blue, pink or white and can be used as a garnish and in a wide range of dishes.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
The individual florets have a strong onion flavour which is lovely in salads and particularly good with eggs. They are fabulous folded into omelettes or scrambled eggs.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Coriander flowers have the same flavour as the leaves and are produced in masses of tiny white delicate fronds which make a beautiful and delicate garnish for many dishes.
Corn Flower (Centaurea cyanus)
Slightly sweet almost spicy clove like taste. Cornflowers come in a range of pink, blue and almost black. They crystalise well so are great for cupcakes.
Courgette (Cucurbita pepo var. courgette or marrow)
Courgette flowers have a sweet nutty flavour and are robust enough to use in tempura, for stuffing or folding into pasta dishes.
A lovely range of strong colours for late summer. Related to sunflowers the petals are a pretty addition to salads.
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
The common daisy has some wonderful modern cultivars that come in a range of reds and pinks and white. The petals are not particularly intense in flavour but make a lovely garnish for both sweet and savoury dishes.
The petals of day lilies have a wonderful sweet crunch and are used in a lot of recipes from East Asian where the plant originated. The buds can be sliced across and eaten or the petals can be removed once the flower has opened.
Perhaps one of the most famous of all the edible flowers and used to make Elderflower Cordial. Also a beautiful frilly garnish which can be used for garnishing cocktails or desserts and is wonderful to make elderflowers vinegar or gin.
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum)
Leaves add fabulous sweet garlic crunch to salad, soups and stir frys all summer. Do not overcook as you will lose the flavour. The starlike white flowers appear in August and add a lovely bite to salads and savoury dishes.
Come in a fabulous range of hot summer colours. Can be stuffed or the individual petals used. Mild lettuce like flavour.
Honeysuckle flowers bring a lovely fragrant sweetness to jams, jellies and cakes.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender flowers are intense flavour and aroma have been used in a wide range of recipes throughout the centuries. They are particularly good in baking and as a substitute for cloves. Lavender is quite often a component of the Provencal herb mix and is great with rabbit and chicken.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
Both the flowers and leaves have a lovely spicy flavor and the flowers come in a range of fabulous hot colours which look fabulous in a salad. If the stigma and stamens are carefully removed then the flowers can be stuffed with guacamole or cream cheese.
Pansy (Viola tricolor)
Pansies are the most colorful of all the edible flowers and extremely versatile. They have a long flowering period, come in wide range of flowers, crystallize beautifully and can be used whole or just as individual petals.
These petals can be steeped in wine, sugar, or use as cake decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower.
Roses have had culinary uses for centuries. They vary enormously in flavor but generally the more scented the better the flavor will be. They are fabulous in jam, cakes and crystallized.
Sage (Salvia Officinalis)
Sage flowers are a wonderful savory addition to lots of dishes. They are strong in flavor and are wonderful with tomatoes dishes such as sprinkled on pizzas or folded into savory butters.
Salad rocket (Arugula)
The flowers of french or salad rocket have exactly the same spicy flavour as the leaves. They have a delicate star like appearance and are available for most of the year. Pretty as a garnish for salads but delicate.
Great colour with almost orchid like ‘faces’. Slightly bitter flavor not unlike chicory. Perfect for clipping onto the rim of cocktail glasses. ,
Sunflower (Helianthus annus)
Sunflower petals have a great bittersweet nutty flavour and a good crunch. They add a fabulous burst of colour to salads, pasta dishes or a stir fry. Sunflower buds can also be cooked and are not dissimilar to Jerusalem Artichokes in flavour.
Tagetes are members of the marigold family. They have a citrus flavour and distinctive ‘marmalade’ perfume which work with both with sweet and savoury dishes.
Tulips come in a range of colours and make wonderful sweet canape ‘containers’ even for ice cream.
Dainty colourful flowers. Perfect for crystallising. Wide range of colours. The most commonly used of the edible flowers.
Violets (Viola ororata)
Devon violets are famous across the country and have a distinctive fragrant flavour.
Wild Primroses (Primrose vulgaris)
A delicate fragrant flavour and look beautiful as a Spring garnish. They also look stunning set in a jelly.
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum)
Leaves and flowers available in April. Leaves are broad and spinach like and impart a wonderful subtle garlic flavour when wrapped around chicken or fish.
Wild rocket (Diplotaxis muralis)
Dainty spicy yellow flowers which are very pretty but are easily damaged by water or dressing.
spicy yellow flowers which are very pretty but are easily damaged by water or dressing.