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Flowers have formed part of our diet for thousands of years. Chinese cooks were experimenting with edible flowers as far back at 3,000 B.C.E. and the Romans used violets and roses in their food as well as lavender in sauces. The practice is still going strong today, with many restaurants using petals to add a unique flavour and appearance.

But it’s not just restaurant chefs who can use flowers in cooking. You’d be surprised at how many edible varieties you can find in your own garden. Here are some of the most popular edible blooms, and ideas for how to use them.


Edible flowers are always best when picked fresh from the garden. They’ll taste even better if you can pick them early in the morning before they’ve had too much sun. But if that’s not possible, don’t worry. Put them straight in the fridge (in a plastic container) and try to use them within a few days. Wash and dry them gently by dipping them in a bowl of water and gently shaking. This should also help remove any bugs or bees that might have stowed away within the petals.

Speaking of the petals – these are the best parts of many edible flowers. So remove the heel at the base of the petal (it’s bitter), as well as the stamens, pistil and calyx of larger flowers. Some, like pansies, however, you can eat whole.

Here are only a small selection of the flowers and plants that you could find in your garden.

There are many publications on this subject that are available to read. Only a hand full have been mentioned here.