Edible Herb Flowers – Herbs With Flowers You Can Eat

By: , Certified Urban Agriculturist
Edible Purple Herb Flowers
Image by UroshPetrovic

Flowers brighten up our homes with their colors and scents. But they are also useful in other ways. Can you eat herb flowers? Eating flowering herbs is a classic way of enhancing flavors and dressing up dishes. There are numerous edible herb flowers from plants that are easy to grow and adorn the landscape, as well as your table. 

Planting herbs near the home kitchen allows easy access for their delicate flavors and bright aromas. Herbs add the perfect touch to any dish and are easy to grow and use. There are many herbs with flowers you can eat, and they make an elegant garnish to foods, as well. Learn which herbs to plant that will produce beautiful and tasty blooms for your favorite foods. 

About Edible Herb Flowers

The flowers of herbs have been used for hundreds of years as medicinals and as gastronomic additions to recipes. Ancient Chinese records indicate they were in use, as well as accounts from the Roman period. Herb flowers are usually used fresh but can also be preserved in oil or dried. It is important to only harvest those that are edible and that have not been grown near pesticide or herbicide use. Flowers should be washed carefully to remove dirt and any insects. Add them to a dish just prior to serving to preserve the colors and flavors. 

Herbs with Flowers You Can Eat

Not all herb flowers are edible or are desirable as food, but many have a long history of use as food or additions to beverages. There are also toxic and poisonous flowers such as Nicotiana, or tobacco flower. Most of our common table herbs are safe to eat. Examples of edible herb flowers are:

Tips on Eating Flowering Herbs

The best time to pick flowers from herbs is in the morning. They are dewed and warming in the sun, releasing their nectar. 

Many of the flowers mimic the herbal flavor but may be lighter or heavier. Taste before adding to a dish so you don’t overwhelm it. In most cases you will want to pull the petals off and discard the ovary and sexual organs, but occasionally, as in the case of fennel, the pollen is a tasty addition to dishes like rice. 

You can use edible herb blooms in syrups, cold beverages, as a tea, salads, baked goods, desserts, and many more applications. There are also other edible flowers like nasturtiums, violas, hollyhock, marigold, English daisy, and Dianthus. Flowers of some vegetables are also delicious like squash and artichoke.

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