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Edible Flowers

apple blossoms


borage  Substitutes:  nasturtiums (for salads) OR violets (for salads) OR rose petals


carnation  Notes:  These have a peppery flavor.  



chive flowers = chive blossoms


clary  Substitutes:  nasturtiums (in salads) OR borage (in salads) OR violet (in salads)



dianthus  Notes:  These have a clove-like flavor.

English primroses



golden needles = lily buds = tiger lily buds = lily flowers

hibiscus flowers  See Jamaica



impatiens = impatients  Notes:  These don't have much flavor.

Indian cress  See nasturtium.


Jamaica = hibiscus flowers = Jamaica sorrel = roselle  Substitutes:  Red Zinger tea


Jamaica sorrel  See Jamaica

Johnny jump-up   Substitutes:  pansy OR violet


lavender  Notes:  Cooks use this fragrant flower to flavor jellies, baked goods and grilled meat.   Substitutes:  drops of Parfait Amour (a lavender-flavored liqueur)

lemon blossoms


lily buds  See golden needles

lily flowers  See golden needles.

mimosa blossoms


nasturtium = Indian cress    Substitutes:  marigolds OR pansies

orange blossoms



peach blossoms

plum blossoms

pot marigold (petals only)

roselle  See Jamaica.


rose petals  Substitutes:  violet flowers (for syrups, jams, and for crystallizing)

sage blossoms



squash blossoms = squash flowers = flor de calabaza   Notes:   These make exquisite garnishes, but they can also be stuffed with fillings and fried, or else sautéed very briefly and put into omelettes or quesadillas.  The best source of the blossoms is a garden, but non-gardeners can sometimes find them in farmers' markets or specialty markets.  They don't store well, so try to use the blossoms soon after you get them.

tiger lily buds  See golden needles


violet  Substitutes:  nasturtium (in salads) OR borage (in salads) OR pansy


Notes:  To candy flowers, whisk an egg white, then use a brush to paint a fine layer onto clean, dry, pesticide-free flower petals (or whole flowers if they're very small). Next, gently place the petal into some superfine sugar, and sprinkle some more superfine sugar on top. Shake off the excess and lay it out on waxed paper to dry (this takes as long as eight hours).

Copyright © 1996-2000  Lori Alden