Many flowers are edible and useful for cooking. So in the spirit of expanding your culinary horizons, this is a list of edible flowers that are often overlooked by the average person.
Chamomile or Dianthus is a white flowering plant, whose petals are used to make wonderful tea blends. In raw form, the flowering petals of chamomile have a taste similar to sweet apples. The calming effects of teas made from this plant are well known throughout the world.
Chrysanthemum is one of the most popular flowers and comes in a wide range of colors. The flowers from yellow and white chrysanthemums are used throughout Asia, as a culinary staple. These flowers are used to make sweet teas, flavored rice wines, as additives for snake meat soups and also as garnishing in a variety of dishes.
Citrus blossoms are an underrated, but highly edible flowering food source and flavoring. Many citrus fruits are used in cooking including lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits and tangerines, all of these also have flowers when their trees have ripe fruits to pick. Various types of citrus blossoms are used to enhance the flavors of teas, baked items, jellies, jams or a delightful garnish.
Daisies or Bellis perennis are a much overlooked plant that has edible flowers. The petals of young daisies can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked. They should be eaten when new and fresh, because their light flavor becomes astringent rather quickly. Daisies can be used in sandwiches, soups and as garnishing.
Dandelions or Taraxacum officinale plants are useful and edible. Every part of the dandelion plant can be used in cooking or as a seasoning, this includes the leaves, roots, and all flowering petals. Dandelion flowers have a sweet taste similar to honey, but more subtle in potency.
Japanese honeysuckle or Lonicera japonica flowers are best known for their sweet flavor. Although light to the taste buds, the aroma of honeysuckle tea mixed with honey is a favorite in many cultures.
Jasmine is similarly sought after for making teas, but for different reasons than the flowering honeysuckle plant. Jasmine flowers have tranquilizing effects on the nervous system, so as to assist in relaxation and overall nervous tension.
Lilac or Syringa vulgaris is popularly used in modern salads. The taste of lilac flowers can vary, depending on how and where they were cultivated. In general, they are used for light garnishing and adding to the aesthetic appeal of raw greens.
Roses or Rosa plants have petals that are best used with their heel removed. These flowering parts are known as rose hips, as are used in jams, jellies, marshmallows, syrups and marmalade recipes. Rose hips are very popular for brewing teas, due to being very high Vitamin C content.
Sunflowers or Helianthus annuus are used primarily for their raw petals and seeds. Sunflower petals are used in salads, baking and to make sunflower butter. Yet it is the dried seeds that are the most popular yield from these large flowering plants.