Herb flowers make a colourful addition to salads and can also be used to flavour sugars, decorate drinks and crystallized for use on cakes or chocolates.
Please note that anyone with asthma or hay fever is advised not to eat flowers in case of extreme allergies to the pollen.
Most flowers should have their petals separated before consumption and any white ‘heel’ removed (this part is bitter).
You can read more details about what the different flowers taste like at this website:
There is more information and some descriptions here too:
Alternatively, look at Jekka McVicar’s book: Good Enough To Eat: Growing Edible Flowers and Cooking with Them which gives lots of recipes.
There is another book by Kathy Brown called Edible Flowers: From Garden To Plate: How To Grow and Cook Edible Flowers. You can see some photos of Kathy’s garden over at Emma’s blog or on Kathy’s own website.
Edible flowers include the following:
Anise hyssop (Agastache anethiodora), basil, bergamot, chive florets – break up and sprinkle – don’t eat a whole head – it will be very strong! Fennel, mint, nasturtiums, borage flowers can be used in summer drinks, green or fruit salads – make sure you take the flower from its backing (very dry texture), also see my previous blog post-Borage Flowers On Ice, elderflower, pot marigold (calendula officinalis), primrose, rose petals, sweet woodruff, salad rocket flowers or flowerbuds – nutty, slightly fragrant. Sweet violets; blue/white – scatter over a salad.
Flowers suitable for crystallizing are rose petals, violets, blue borage or mint leaves.
Rosemary and lavender buds or scented geranium leaves (lemon and rose particularly) can be used to flavour custards, milk and cream desserts and puddings.
Scented geranium leaves can be placed in the base of a sponge mixture to give a wonderful flavour to the cake.
NB Always make sure you have identified the plant correctly and do not eat in large quantities i.e. just a few flowers/petals in a salad for example or a borage flower in an ice cube in your drink.
This article is based on an excerpt from my Herb Gardening e-book.