Give Mom an edible bouquet this Mother’s Day; instead of the typical spring flower arrangement, whip up a special meal for her using edible flowers and floral flavor accents. Edible flowers can add vibrant pops of color and bursts of flavor to your dishes, elevating them to the standard of fancy restaurant fare.
Try these tea party-inspired floral appetizer recipes, then check out the lists below to learn more about some of the many varieties of edible flowers you can use to brighten up your next dish!
Floral Flavored Recipes:
Creating fragrant floral recipes can be as simple as adding a few dashes of dried lavender or a drop of flavored extract, but the difference it makes is incredible! Another great way to liven up your dishes is by adding fresh edible flowers or petals as colorful garnishes. Here are a few creative recipes with subtle floral accents that are definitely Mom-worthy.
Strawberry Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Floral flavors often pair very well with fruit like citrus and berries. This springy take on chicken salad includes chopped strawberries and mandarin oranges, making it a perfect match for the yogurt-based Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing and a touch of dried lavender. Add a few strawberry “roses” on top of the sandwiches for a stunning presentation.
Calla Lily Tea Sandwiches
In addition to resembling flowers in their shape and presentation, these sandwiches also incorporate the spice blend herbes de provence (which includes lavender in addition to several other herbs), making them twice as relevant.
To make these fun appetizers, mix together cream cheese, chopped walnuts, some herbes de provence, and a dash of ground cayenne pepper; then spread it on flattened, circle-shaped slices of Martin’s Butter Bread, roll them into a cone shape, and decorate each with a julienned carrot for the stamen, some paprika for the pollen, and a green onion for the stem.
Mini Flower Tartlets
These cute little flower cups are filled with sweetened vanilla whipped cream mascarpone and decorated with an assortment of edible flower garnishes and leafy herbs. To add even more floral flavor, try adding a drop of lavender essential oil to the mascarpone filling—the perfumey fragrance pairs well with the light sweetness of the whipped cream.
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More Floral Recipes:
- Flower & Herb Butter
- Herbal Canapes
- Spring Garden Crostini
- Floral Goat Cheese
- Wild Hibiscus, Warm Brie, & Almond Crostini
- Viola Tea Sandwiches
Here are just a few of the common garden flowers that are edible. For even more varieties, check out the links at the bottom of this blog post. (Of course, always make sure that you are buying or growing a variety that is safe to eat and has not been treated with harmful chemicals or pesticides.)
- Borage blossoms – These blue, star-shaped flowers have a subtle cucumber-like taste and are great for use in salads or refreshing beverages.
- Calendula (or marigold) – These pretty golden petals are sometimes called “poor man’s saffron” and can be used to add a yellow tint to foods. The petals have a slightly spicy or peppery taste and work well in dishes like deviled eggs, soup, pasta, rice, herb butters, and salads.
Photo by: edibleoffice/flickr
- Carnations (dianthus) – These colorful flowers have sweet petals with a light, clove or nutmeg-like flavor that can be used in desserts, salads, simple syrup, or herb butter.
- Chrysanthemums – These flowers come in assorted colors like red, white, yellow, and orange and can have a sweet, tangy, or bitter taste ranging from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. Use them in salads, vinegars, stir-fries, and as seasoning.
- Dandelions – These common garden weeds may actually come in handy; their bright, yellow petals have a sweet, honey-like flavor and can be eaten raw or steamed in foods like salads or rice dishes.
- Hibiscus – The petals of these pretty, tropical flowers have a sweet and tart, cranberry or citrus-like flavor that is perfect for teas or cool beverages.
- Johnny-jump-ups (viola tricolor) – The tricolored yellow, white, and purple blooms have a mild minty flavor that pairs great with salads, soft cheeses, drinks, soups, or desserts.
Photo by: patrickstandish/flickr
- Lavender – These purple-petal beauties have a sweet, slightly perfumed flavor with floral, lemon, and citrus notes. Use fresh or dried lavender in drinks, desserts like chocolate cake or ice cream, or with savory dishes like meats, stews, and sauces.
- Nasturtiums – These vibrantly-colored flowers have a sweet and peppery flavor similar to watercress and are perfect for savory summer appetizers, salads, or tea sandwiches.
- Pansies (viola) – These pretty flowers come in all varieties of colors and have a slightly minty flavor that is perfect in drinks, fruit salads, green salads, or as a garnish on top of cream cheese-topped crackers or sandwiches.
- Roses – These popular flowers have long been used in cooking, especially in Middle Eastern cuisine. Their strong floral scent and subtle, fruity flavor can be used for soups, salads, teas, jams, and desserts.
- Violets – These vibrantly colored blooms have a sweet, floral taste that can accent salads, drinks, cakes, and desserts.
Did you know that many common herbs will actually produce flowers if left to grow long enough? These herb flowers are just as tasty as the regular form of the herb and have a similar or milder taste. Most of them can be used the same way you would the herb, with the added benefit of also adding some color and contrast to your plate!
- Alliums (like chive or garlic blossoms)
Photo by: lagged2death/flickr
Photo by: paulspace/flickr
- Sage Flowers
Some vegetables are also considered flowers (think broccoli, cauliflower, and artichoke), while others blossom into flowers similar to the way herbs do. Here are a few types of flowering vegetables you can use as a creative culinary garnish!
- Arugula flowers
- Pea Blossoms (edible garden peas only)
- Radish Flowers
- Squash, Pumpkin, and Zucchini Blossoms
Photo by: __my__photos/flickr
A few things to keep in mind:
- Not every flower or every part of the flower is edible.
- You should only consume flowers if you are positive they are edible and have not been sprayed with pesticides.
- Make sure to wash all edible flowers thoroughly before eating them.
- Use edible flowers sparingly or gradually if you are not use to consuming this type of food.
For more tips about picking, cleaning, preserving, and crystallizing edible flowers, plus even more edible flower varieties and recipes, visit https://whatscookingamerica.net.
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