Gorgeous and Good For You
By Shauna Lindzon
Last summer while I was browsing the plant section at my local grocery store, I was intrigued by a beautiful pot of flowers that were labeled ‘edible’. Up to that point, the only flowers that I was used to cooking with were zucchini blossoms (I enjoy them stuffed with a mild cheese, battered, and then fried. Yum!) I decided to buy a planter with a variety of 4 different flowers. Throughout the summer, I added the flowers as finishing touches to my culinary creations.
Many different teas, herbs, and salad greens that we consume regularly will produce edible flowers. Some examples include chamomile, mint, and arugula. Once the leaves flower, the greens are usually too bitter to eat, but the flowers can be enjoyed in salads, or added as garnishes. I often notice this happening if my dill is overgrown. Bright white flowers develop in the late summer.
Nutritionally, edible flowers have similar nutrients to fruits and vegetables and have disease- fighting components which is an added bonus. This makes a lot of sense since they are plants! They contain vitamins such as A, C, and E, as well as phytonutrients.
Here are ten edible flowers to look out for:
Begonia -This yellow/pink flower has a citrus flavour. Note that it is high in oxalate and should be avoided if you have kidney disease.
Borage -This purple/blue flower tastes a lot like cucumbers. It pairs well with lemonade.
Calendula – This bright yellow/orange flower has a slight peppery flavour.
Chamomile – This white/yellow daisy-like flower has apple undertones.
Hibiscus – This burgundy flower can be used to make chutneys or teas.
Hollyhock – This hot pink flower is flavourless but looks pretty in a salad.
Lavender – This purple flower pairs well with chocolate and can add a nice floral taste to
Marigold – This yellowy/orange flower is a nice substitute for tarragon.
Pansy – This yellow flower has grassy undertones and is nice in a fruit salad.
Sunflower – This yellow and white flower tastes like an artichoke.
Always remember to check if your flower is edible before consuming it. If you are prone to allergies, it is important to discard the stamens or stems. Stick to enjoying the petals! Now that I have looked into which flowers are edible and not poisonous, I am definitely going to enjoy growing them, decorating my dishes with them, and eating them all summer long.
Shauna Lindzon is a dietitian and nutritionist. She is a program developer and nutrition leader at Wellspring Cancer Support Network and enjoys doing virtual nutrition cooking classes and corporate wellness lectures. For more information about Shauna visit shaunalindzon.com and follow her on Instagram @shaunalin.