By Natalie Mitts
Brighten up your salad with some flowers from the
garden. There are many flowers that are safe to eat, but there are even
more that are harmful to ingest. Be extremely careful, especially if you
have food allergies. Remember not to eat any flower that has been
treated with pesticides or any other chemical. Only use flowers you grew
yourself or that you bought from a grocer or farmer. Wildflowers and
flowers from floral shops should not be eaten. Wash all flowers before
using in food. You can always use flowers just as garnishes in salads or
other foods; don't feel like you or your guests have to eat them. Never
put non-edible flowers on a plate because someone may accidentally eat
them. The tasty part of the flower is the petal - remove everything
else. Flowers taste best before they wilt. Before consuming any of these
suggestions, purchase a book on edible flowers with photos. Here are a
few kinds that are typically safe to eat.
Bee Balm - These flowers taste a
bit like mint or oregano, with a hint of citrus. Look for the red petals
of Bee Balm to add color to drinks, fruit salads or green salads.
Borage - Borage tastes like
cucumber. It works well with cheese, chilled soups, dips, drinks, salads
and sandwiches. The flowers are typically bluish purple.
Calendula - Spicy and tangy,
calendula works great with cheese, eggs and salads. The yellow petals
look great on cakes. They are often used as garnishes with desserts, but
their saffron-like taste is great in richer dishes. Be sure to avoid
eating the pollen from these flowers, because many people are allergic
Lavender - Purple in color,
lavender adds a lemony floral taste to foods. The flavor is very strong,
so use these flowers sparingly. Lavender works well with bitter green
salads, desserts, fish, fruit, meat, pasta and sauces.
Nasturtium - These colorful
flowers have a peppery taste. Their blossoms are typically red, orange
or yellow. Nasturtiums add flavor to cheese, green salads, potatoes,
rice, sandwiches and seafood.
Pansy - A common variety of
violets, pansies have a very mild flavor. They are slightly sweet and
taste a bit like grass. Therefore, they go well in desserts, fruit
salads and green salads. Pansies come in a range of colors from yellow
to pink to purple.
Rose - Roses are very sweet. The
stronger the scent, the strong the taste becomes. Darker flowers
typically have a stronger flavor as well. Roses are great with desserts,
drinks, jams, salads and spreads. Some taste like apples while others
have a more citrus-like flavor. Remember to remove the white portion of
the petals; it is very bitter.
Runner Bean - There are two
edible varieties of runner beans: scarlet runner beans and the painted
lady. The scarlet variety is bright red and tastes like the beans it
grows with. Painted ladies grow coral petals and also carry long green
beans. The flower adds taste and color to green salads and sandwiches.
** MIX!, Dining Services and BYU are not
responsible for any illness that may result from consuming flowers.
Always use caution with unfamiliar varieties and only eat in small