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Cooking with Edible Flowers


with Ashlee Redger
Test Kitchen Chef
March 6, 2018
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Cooking with Edible Flowers

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and trees are beginning to bud—all of this can only mean one thing: spring is coming! As flowers begin to bloom outside, it’s the perfect time to break out of that wintertime cooking rut and bring some floral flavors into your kitchen.

Don’t know how to use flowers in your dishes? Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through!

Steep them

Many dried herbs and flowers produce their strongest flavors when allowed to infuse in a liquid. Hibiscus Flower is a wonderful example of this. Hibiscus is most often used as a tea and provides a gorgeous, dark red color and super fruity flavor. The easiest way to enjoy it is to make some Iced Hibiscus Tea (or Agua de Jamaica) to sip on a warm day.

Flowers can also add some fun and interesting notes to cocktails, especially margaritas. A bright pink Hibiscus Margarita would be great to serve at a party, while Turkish Margaritas—which are flavored with honey, Rose Water, and rimmed with crushed Pakistan Rose Petal—are full of sweet floral notes.

Hibiscus Flowers and Hibiscus iced tea
Use Hibiscus Flowers in Hibiscus Iced Tea

Bake with them

Lavender is a popular choice to delicately add flavor to fresh pastries. Melt-in-Your-Mouth Lavender Shortbread and Lemon Lavender Scones are both great choices to serve with a warm cup of tea (a book and a blanket to wrap up in is optional… but encouraged). If you’re looking to make a unique version of an American classic, the Honey Rose Apple Pie makes a lovely dessert for an Easter meal or potluck.

Lavender and Lemon Lavender Scones
Use Lavender in Lemon Lavender Scones

Sprinkle them

There are more to flowers than just their petals. Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is actually the red stigmas of the purple Crocus sativus bloom. We devoted all of February to celebrating this luxurious spice with the release Saffron & Chanterelle Risotto Spice ‘n Easy and  Saffron Salt (a special, limited time offer only available for the month of February - you’ll have to wait until next year to get your hands on a bag!).

California Fennel Pollen has a delicious sweet anise flavor and is wonderful sprinkled on roasted sweet potatoes with a dash of salt or in a marinade for chicken skewers. As you might be able to guess, this flavorful pollen also makes up a large part of Coastal Cali Fennel Pollen Rub which pairs well with anything from fruit (add a tablespoon to your favorite cranberry sauce!) to lamb burgers.

California fennel pollen in herbed chicken skewers
California Fennel Pollen in Herbed Chicken Skewers



Flowers aren’t just for decorating your table! Do you have any favorite florally inspired dishes? What are you looking forward to cooking this spring? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments on this Article

(guest), on March 07, 2018

Dear Ashlee, I'm happy to see the Lavender Flower recipe so I printed out the recipe and I will bring in the printout when I come to the store in Lincoln Square, as it looks very appealing to make for a Special Day soon.Thank you. Respectfully, Barbara

(guest), on March 07, 2018

Very informative but you have just scratched the surface of edible flowers.

(guest), on March 07, 2018

Ashlee- Loved the article and would like to know if there are any resources that tell what flowers are edible and which are poison. Keep bringing on the flower power! Not only are they tasty but they are so pretty in any dish! - Amy

(guest), on March 07, 2018

Not only pretty on the palate, but also in the bath ~hence whip up a Turkish Margarita, light a candle & scatter the flowers with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt in the bathwater. Savory Spice for the spirit & soul ;-)

Ashlee Redger (registered user) on March 07, 2018

Thanks for all the comments! I agree, we've totally JUST begun to talk about edible flowers! In general, you want to avoid any flowers that have been grown for bouquets (they often have pesticides sprayed on them during growing) and you can find fresh edible flowers in little plastic containers in a lot of grocery stores, near the herbs. These fresh ones are absolutely adorable when used to garnish desserts.

(guest), on March 07, 2018

Great ???? Information.
I loved it
Thank you ??
B Diez, MD

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