Edible flowers: floral decorations that taste as good as they look

Many flowers are not only really eye-catching but are also ideal ingredients for salads, desserts, cocktails and more. The selection is huge. MPULSE recommends five blooming beauties that can multi-task: look good and taste great.

Edible flowers

What´s it all about?

  • Versatile in the kitchen: edible flowers 
  • Five of the prettiest and tastiest flowers
  • Tips and recipe ideas 
 

Violets, daisies or hibiscus – edible flowers are a colourful food trend. Many of these floral delicacies can be used both as decoration and as seasoning. And there’s more good news: edible flowers are in no way reserved for fine dining. Any chef can use them to give their meals a pop of colour and get the taste buds tingling – from starters to main courses to desserts. This floral splendour ranges from A for aster to Z for zucchini, with flavours from tangy and spicy to mellow and sweet. Five highlights from the ‘floral kitchen.

Roses

The king of flowers is a culinary all-rounder. Freshly-picked, dried or candied, rose petals lend desserts like cakes, cupcakes and ice cream a sweet and elegant note, in appearance as well as flavour. Rose water has long been used in Asian cuisine to flavour sweet treats, baked products and cakes. The flowers can also be used to make refreshing pink-hued drinks – for example, rose lemonade or tea. 

Borage

The small, star-shaped, blue flowers have a mild, cucumber-like flavour and can be used as a seasoning for soups and stews. They add to the attractiveness of desserts like custards and cakes and offer some interesting flavour contrasts. The tiny blue star flowers are likewise an adornment for cocktails, for example a mint-cucumber mojito. Borage is also an ingredient in the famous Frankfurt Green Sauce. However, large quantities of the plant should not be consumed as it contains substances that are toxic in high doses. But enjoying it moderation is considered harmless.

Lavender

Famous for both its fragrance and its colour, lavender is a kitchen classic and performs excellently as a culinary herb. The intense aroma of the flowers pairs equally well with hearty meat dishes as it does with sweet desserts. Lavender butter is likewise very tasty. Butter can also be flavoured with garlic and lavender for spreading on bread or as a herb butter with steak. Sweet lavender butter variants can be made with ingredients like honey or orange. Generally speaking, English lavender is the best suited for eating; other varieties can be underwhelming in flavour.
 

Dandelion

So much more than a weed! The dandelion is an edible wild herb, and every part of the plant can be eaten. For example, the leaves can be used as a bittersweet ingredient for soups and salads, or for making a dandelion pesto that pairs well with pasta dishes. The yellow flowers with their slightly sweet aroma are a summery decoration for cakes and pies and can be made into jellies, jams and syrups. Last but not least, the wild herb is healthy  and nutritious, containing valuable bitter compounds, minerals and vitamins.
 

Nasturtium

The bright yellow, red and orange flowers of the nasturtium guarantee a dash of colour in salads and are also perfect for spicing up curd cheese, dips and spreads for bread. Both the flowers and the leaves are edible and taste spicy, similar to cress. Flowers filled with cream cheese and herbs are a particular delicacy. 
 

Tips for flower foodies

  • Picking flowers and wild herbs yourself in the great outdoors is only permitted in small quantities for personal consumption. For some species it is prohibited, and the same applies in nature reserves. A permit is required for commercial purposes.
  • Gastro-professionals who do not have a garden or balcony to grow their own flowers and blossoms can look around in retail and wholesale. METRO regularly has edible flowers in its product range.  

FAQ

Which flowers are edible?

From A to aster to Z for zucchini, there are so many flowers and petals that can be eaten with confidence. The best known are borage, nasturtium and sage. 

Can edible flowers be dried?

Many edible flowers are ideally suitable for drying. To do this, hang the flowers upside down in a warm, dry and dark place so that they do not lose their aroma or colour. They are then placed on a grid and kept as covered and ventilated as possible so they lose any remaining moisture. Alternatively, the flowers can be dried in a dehydrator, a dry cabinet or in the oven (max. 40°C). 

Where can edible flowers be found?

You can grow edible flowers yourself in any domestic garden. Picking them in the great outdoors is only permitted in small quantities for your own use. Alternatively, there is a range of ready-to-use flowers at METRO. 

How long can edible flowers be kept?

Freshly picked flowers can only be kept for a short time. Flowers candied in egg white can be kept for up to four weeks. For a longer shelf-life, flowers can be dried (for a shelf-life of approx. one year) or frozen (for a shelf-life of over one year).

Further articles