ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Cooking Ingredients

Eat Flowers! Flowers are vegetables too

Updated on December 12, 2013
You can eat bread and roses! All the flowers shown here are from the gardens of 'Les Trois Chenes' B&B
You can eat bread and roses! All the flowers shown here are from the gardens of 'Les Trois Chenes' B&B

Flowers are vegetables so 'Eat Your Flowers! '

Growing in our gardens is a wealth of food that we just simply ignore - flowers. Gardens, meadows, woodlands and hedgerows are full of food and natural goodness and it's a shame not to take advantage of all this free food and great nutrition.

I've been interested in plants and food for many years and love finding out what to eat and how to eat it and this interest blossomed, so to speak, when I moved into the heart of rural France and opened a Bed and breakfast, Les Trois Chenes. Here in the tiny hamlet of Videix, Limousin I'm surrounded by countryside. wild plants and flowers are all around me.

I'm truly blessed and mean to make the most of living in this wonderful country - the home of good food and good living. Making the most of edible flowers and edible herbs - including cooking and eating my weeds - seems only natural.

So why not eat the daisies? And the roses and many, many more flowers.

Broccoli, Cauliflower and a stalk from my self-seeded member of the brassica family.
Broccoli, Cauliflower and a stalk from my self-seeded member of the brassica family.

The flowers we all love to eat

Yes, broccoli. You will probably think of broccoli as a vegetable, and so it is. But it is also the flower head of the plant Brassica oleracea var. italica, a member of the brassica family, along with cabbages. The flower head is harvested just before the buds begin to break, and it is these flower buds that you are eating! Cauliflower Brassica oleracea is another well known member of this family.

I have self-sown brassicas growing in my garden and I eat the whole flower stems, gently steams, and they are absolutely DIVINE!

Do you eat flowers?

Are flowers food?

See results
Edible flowers that bloom in Videix, Limousin, France in May
Edible flowers that bloom in Videix, Limousin, France in May
Paeony, Elderflower and clover
Paeony, Elderflower and clover
Sugared flowers make pretty decorations for this Clafouti.
Sugared flowers make pretty decorations for this Clafouti.

Eat your flowers and weeds

Many of these flowers grow as common garden weeds, we weed them out and, at best, compost them, but wouldn't it be better to eat them as vegetables and in salads? Dandelions for instance are very versatile. Eat the young leaves and flowers in salads, or cook the leaves like spinach and add them to soups.

Why eat flowers from the garden

  • They are free
  • They are pretty
  • They are unusual
  • They are nutritious
  • The may have health benefits

Edible flowers, health and nutrition

Many edible flowers have long been used in traditional and herbal medicine. Animals seek out a variety of different wild herbs to keep themselves healthy and wild plants are often more nutritious than plants that have been selectively bred for many other quality, speed of growth, colour, looks, size, uniformity, etc

The nutritional value of flowers, however, have not been studied in depth, however flowers do contain nectar and pollen and studies have shown pollen to be nutritious with vitamins and minerals. Roses and especially rose hips, are very high in vitamin C. Dandelion blossoms are high in vitamins A and C while the leaves are good sources of iron, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A and C. Marigolds and Nasturtium have vitamin C.

As part of a calorie controlled diet

Fowers are calorie free and so ideal for weight watchers. They are good cooking ingredients if you want to lose weight - so long as you don't coat them in sugar or batter of course!

Which flowers can you eat?

This list includes just a selection of flowers that I know myself and have grown in gardens in England and France. If you have a silmilar climate to London, Exeter, Hebden Bridge (England) or the Haute-Vienne in France, you should be able to grow all of these:

Angelica; (Angelica archangelica), Borage; (Borago officinalis), Clary sage, Chervil; (Anthriscus cerefolium), Salvia sclarea; Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca; carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus - aka Dianthus) Calendula or Marigold (Calendula officinalis), Chive flowers; (Allium schoenoprasum), Red Clover; (Trifolium species), Coriander, Coriander sarivum; Cornflowers; (Centaurea cynaus) Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium), Dandelions; (Taraxacum officinalis), Common Daisies; (Bellis perennis), Day Lilies (Hemerocallis species), Dill; (Anethum), Elderflower; (Sambucus spp), Fennel; (Foeniculum vulgare), Fuchsia, Fushia x hybrida; Garlic, Allium sativum; Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum; Gladiolus, Gladiolus hortulanus; Hyssop, Hyssopus officalis; Leek, Allium porrum; Lemon, Citrus limon (Inside during winter); Lilac; (Syringa vulgaris), Marjoram; Origanum vulgare; Nasturtiums; (Tropaeolum majus), Marsh mallow, Althaea officinalis; Mustard, Brassica spp.; Pansies; viola) Peony, Paeonia lactiflora; Orange, Citrus sinensis (Inside during winter); Oregano, Origanum vulgar; Plum, Prunus spp.; Radish, Raphanus sativus; Sorrel; (Rumex acetosa),Tulip, Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa; Violets; (Viola odorata), Water lily, Nymphaea odorata; Winter savory, Satureja montana; Yucca, Yucca spp

Many of the fruit tree blossoms are edible; we grow apples, cherries, plums and pears at Les Trois Chenes.

Elder flower and acacia blossom fritters.
Elder flower and acacia blossom fritters. | Source
Sugared flowers
Sugared flowers | Source

How to use flowers as an ingredient in the kitchen

There are many ways to enjoy using flowers in the kitchen. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Fritters make a fragrant starter or nibble
  • Sugar them for cake, cheese and dessert decorations
  • Use flowers to brighten up a salad
  • They add fragrance to vinegars
  • Make them into healthy teas
  • Crystallize them
  • Flavour ice cream and cream toppings (Lavender)
  • Boil and eat like broccoli or asparagus tips (cabbage family)
  • Freeze in ice-cubes
  • Add to stir fries
  • Make into jams
  • Add to syrups

Other uses

  • Use as dyes for wool
  • Add to home made soaps

Edible flowers at and around Les Trois Chenes

Words of Warning

Never eat a plant if you are not 100% sure that you have identified it correctly. Go to the chemist of ask someone who definitely does know before trying it. Get a good plant identification book and educate yourself. Never eat plants that may have been sprayed with chemicals or fouled by animals. If you suffer from asthma or allergic reactions be particularly careful and perhaps check with your doctor.

Video of Edible Flowers by the Author


Please leave your thoughts on edible flowers

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image
      Author

      Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Thank you so much Au fait. The flowers are just so pretty, they look lovely in salads and decorating desserts. Many thanks for leaving a comment and voting up.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      I had no idea there were so many edible flowers! I've had dandelion greens and I know that nasturtiums, violets, and roses are edible, but you have such a long list here. I think one reason people don't eat flowers very often is that they aren't sure which ones are edible or how to prepare them. A very interesting article. Voted up, interesting, useful, and will share.

    • Yoridale profile image

      Yoridale 6 years ago

      Oh very informative hub!

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image
      Author

      Les Trois Chenes 7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      I'm sure there will be many more edible flowers, Riviera Rose. I gather that dandelions are really nutritious, roots and all.

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 7 years ago from South of France

      What a fantastic hub - I had no idea I could eat so many flowers! And I really must start adding dandelions to my salads, God knows I've got enough of them in my garden! ;)

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image
      Author

      Les Trois Chenes 7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      @thevoice and Triosol, many thanks for your comments and the vote up. Hope it wasn't the flowers that made you sick!

    • triosol profile image

      triosol 7 years ago

      Beautiful Hub. Voted up.

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 7 years ago from carthage ill

      excellent beautiful culinary hub work thanks sorry was sick

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image
      Author

      Les Trois Chenes 7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Many thanks for your comments. I do enjoy using all that free food out there, especially as it does seem to be high nutritionally. I do, from time to time, wonder about the nutritional value in intensively grown, shop bought food - and we eat such a narrow range!

    • E. A. Wright profile image

      E. A. Wright 7 years ago from New York City

      This is great, and it's so refreshing to see these are your own photos and video. They're quite beautiful!

    • profile image

      Marlys 7 years ago

      Wow! I never even thought about eating flowers. I knew that some plants' leaves can be medicinal. But flowers??? Thanks for this. Really enlightening. I can't look in my garden with the same eyes now. Bon Appetit!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)