Rules of Edible Flowers
flowers only when you are positive they are edible. If uncertain, consult a good reference book on edible flowers prior to
because flowers are served with food does not mean they are edible. It's easy and very attractive to use flowers for garnish
on plates or for decoration, but avoid using non-edible flowers this way. Many people believe that anything on the plate can
be eaten. They may not know if the flower is edible or not and may be afraid to ask.
are necessary, use only those products labeled for use on edible crops.
eat flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers. In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not
labeled for food crops.
eat flowers picked from the side of the road. Once again, possible herbicide use eliminates these flowers as a possibility
pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only the flower petals for most flowers.
flavors occur in plants when grown in different locations because of soil types, fertilization, and culture. Environmental
conditions play a big role as well. What has excellent flavor at one time may taste different at the end of the season or
the next year.
flowers into your diet in small quantities one species at a time. Too much of a good thing may cause problems for your digestive
have allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually, as they may aggrevate some allergies.
the different flavors and colors that edible flowers add to many foods.
flowers at the optimum time. Pick fully open flowers in the cool of the day. Flowers that are not fully open (unless buds
are desired) or those starting to wilt should be avoided. Sample a flower or two before harvesting. Remove the pistils and
stamens because the pollen can detract from the flavor as well as cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. After
harvest, place long-stemmed flowers in water and then in a cool location. Short stemmed flowers should be placed between layers
of damp paper toweling or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Immediateay bfore useing, gently wash the flowers to remove
dirt and check for insects. Before washing, test one flower for colorfastness. Some tend to discolor in water.
the petals of some flowers such as rose, tulip, yucca and lavendar are edible. Seperate the flower petals from the rest of
the flower just prior to use to keep wilting to a minimum. Roses, dianthus, English daisies, and marigolds have a bitter white
area at the base of the petal where it was attached to the flower. Break or cut off the portion before using.
article originally appeared in the July 21, 1995 issue,
p. 112. Horticulture & Home Pest News
to always wash flowers thouroughly to make certain any chemical or organic pesticide has been removed.