Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flower Eating?

Eat Your Flowers - But Not All of Them!
I'm sure you know that flowers are one of the many gifts of spring, but did you know that quite a few of them are edible? 42 edible flowers are covered in this article on

Here are just a few of the gifts that flowers offer, aside from their visual beauty and fragrance:
- Violets contain rutin, a phytochemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that ay help strengthen capillary walls
- Rose petals contain bioflavonoids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E
- Nasturtiums contain cancer-fighting lycopene and lutein, a carotenoid found in vegetables and fruits that is important for vision health
- Lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron, and is said to benefit your central nervous system
- Chive blossoms (the purple flower of the chive herb) contain vitamin C, iron and sulfur, and have traditionally been used to help support healthy blood pressure levels

But before you go out and start eating all the flowers in your garden be sure to use the guide at to know which ones are edible and consume only the ones not treated with pesticides.

I have tried chocolate with lavender buds bought from the Lavender Ridge Store and it was absolutely delightful. I bought a bottle of these buds to use in salads, soups, salads and desserts.

Besides the delicious taste, consumption of lavender flower in teas and its essential oil use over time is known to be very healthy and assist the healing of almost anything, for it raises the vibration of your body to a point where diseases are less likely to occur.

Here's a list of some of the flowers that are often considered to enhance a meal, usually in salad or as garnish but also in other ways too. From various sources, we've listed some common flowers that are used as edibles. We included some description and also information from Jonathan Lust's The Herb Book as far as some of the healing properties these flowers have.

Borage (Borago officinalis) - - McGranaghan: "We serve these a lot. It's a star-shaped blue blossom. Easy to grow." It has a light cucumber flavor. Lust: Flowers are medicinal, anti-fever, restores vitality in recuperation, diaphoretic, antidotal, calmative properties. Good for pleurisy and anti-inflammatory... - shouldn't be used for long periods.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Actually the marigold, but the ornamental variety is not the best for eating. Choose hybrids grown for such. Tastes a little like saffron, spicy, tangy, peppery, adds a golden hue to the plate. Lust: Anti-spasmodic, flowers good for colitis, cramps, ulcers; for fever and anti-nausea.

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) Has a faint apple flavor, good as a tea also. Lust: medicinal properties soothe asthma, help against insomnia, decoctions ameliorate toothache.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Earthy, eat either the petals or the buds. Lust: digestive aid, good for spleen problems, jaundice, excellent appetizer as it stimulates appetite.

Dandelion This dandy lion is the king of the nutrition jungle. Flowers are excellent tasting, leaves are wonderful in salads and sources tout the powerful blood purifying properties of the plant. Don't eat the ones out of your yard if Chem-Lawn has you on their route!

Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) Very bland tasting flavor. Lust: Used to soothe sore throat, can heal mouth inflammation.

Lavender (Lavendula species) Floral, slightly perfumey flavor. Lust: Soothes migraine headache, flatulence, dizziness. Note: This is one of the blooms that some sources say may be harmful in large amounts.

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) My Omaha favorite. Has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones. Great in salads.

Common Mallow (Malva sylrestris) Has a sweet, delicate taste like - - guess what? -- Yep, marshmallow. Chew the thick twig stem or use the blossoms. At certain times of the year when the twig stem is moist, you'll swear you're eating a marshmallow. Blossoms are sweet.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) This is a McFoster's regular. A delicate trumpet-shaped bloom. Buds are often pickled and used like capers. The blossom petals have a sweet, mildly pungent, peppery flavor. Tom Foster: "You can eat the stems like a stick of candy. They have a sweet but spicy streak to them." You can serve the whole blossom as a salad garnish. Lust: Excellent chopped and blended with cream cheese or butter. Medicinal qualities include antiseptic, expectorant, good for chest cold, promotes formation of new blood cells.

Rose (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis) Rose petals have a sweet, aromatic flavor. The stronger the fragrance, the stronger the flavor. The lower (whitish) part of the petal is bitter. Rose hips are also edible. Note that rosehips are often included in supplemental vitamins as a premium ingredient. Lust: Remedy for headache, dizziness. Excellent blood purifier. Good source of Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants.

Violets Hardly a shrinking addition to salads or floating gently in a bowl of soup. Sweet and subtle, the small blossoms are crunchy if served fresh.
There are a number of commonsense thoughts that should guide your diet regardless of its direction and the same holds true of eating flowers. Some parts of blossoms have more allergens than the petals. You may want to avoid the internal workings such as the pistils and stamens where the pollen is formed and stored. Eat in conservative amounts so that you know which flowers agree with you if you've never enjoyed trying them before.

Some flowers are just plain considered poisonous. Some of those are azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley, poinsettia and wisteria. Eat flowers from a proper source. You wouldn't eat a hamburger you found lying by the side of the road. Don't presume it's ok to pick the flowers there either. Happy spring.

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