How to pick edible flowers

Tips for safely choosing edible flowers from your garden, herbs, vegetable plants and trees

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English daisies, pansies and marigolds collage

Did you know that some of the flowers you grow in your garden can be eaten? Usually, petals are the edible parts of flowers, so you can remove the stamens and pistils.

The following list of edible flowers is derived from Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Ohio State University Extension and North Carolina State University Extension:

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Certain flowers from herbs, trees and vegetable plants can also be consumed:

Consult a field guide for identification tips for these flowers, or reference the photos from North Carolina State University Extension. Also, note any potential health risks from certain flowers and herb flowers.

Cooking and baking with edible flowers

Many edible flowers can be used in salads or teas. Others can be used in baked goods and desserts, or as garnishes. North Carolina State University Extension and Alabama Cooperative Extension System offer ideas for using specific edible flowers in cooking and baking.

Tips for picking edible flowers

As with anything in nature, use caution before you pick and consume flowers. The following tips are gleaned from University of Colorado Extension and University of Minnesota Extension:

  • Make sure your identification of the flowers is correct so that they are deemed edible. Use scientific names of flowers.
  • It’s possible to be allergic to certain edible flowers. Slowly incorporate edible flowers into your diet so you can identify any allergic reactions.
  • Pick flowers earlier in the day, once the dew has dried.
  • Choose flowers that are in good condition (not wilted or faded). With the exception of daylilies, only eat flowers that are open already.
  • Don’t pick flowers that are grown along roadsides, as they may have been treated with pesticides, herbicides or untreated manure.
  • Don’t eat flowers from florists, garden centers and nurseries.
  • Once flowers have been picked, rinse them with gently running water. Store between damp paper towels in the refrigerator.
  • Use flowers the same day you pick them, or the following day if necessary.

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