Are pansies edible? Yes! Pansies are one of the most popular edible flowers, both because you can eat their sepals and because they come in such a wide array of colors. They are popular eaten both fresh in salads and candied in desserts. Keep reading to learn more about eating pansy flowers and common pansy recipes and ideas.
Using Pansies as Food
Can you eat pansies? You sure can. In fact, unlike with many edible flowers, you don’t even need to be careful to stop at the petals. The stamen, pistil, and sepals (those little leaves directly under the flower) are all edible too. This means you can just snip the flower off its stem and eat away. That being said, you should only eat pansies that you know haven’t been exposed to chemical pesticides–which means no eating flowers you’ve bought at the florist or picked in the park. The best option is to grow the flowers yourself so you know exactly what they’ve come into contact with.
Pansy Recipes and Ideas
When eaten raw, pansy flowers have a fresh, slightly spicy, lettuce-like flavor. In a word, they taste very green. They are popular in salads because their taste meshes very well and they add a great splash of color. Really, they work well as a garnish for any savory meal and since they come in so many colors, it’s easy to find just the right flower to accent your plate. They are also excellent dessert flowers. They can be pressed fresh into the icing of a cake or placed in a bowl of fruit. Candying is the route most chefs take, however, both because it helps preserve the flowers for longer and because it gives them a sweeter, more dessert-like taste. To candy a pansy flower, simply whisk together an egg white and a few drops of water. Using a paintbrush, gently brush the mixture onto both sides of the petals, making sure to coat the surface completely. Then dust the flower with confectioners’ sugar (it should stick in a fine layer). Place the finished flowers face up on a sheet of parchment paper and let them dry overnight. These flowers should stay looking nice for up to a year.
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The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.
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