5 Edible Flowers for Salads Plus Preparation Tips and Serving Suggestions

Flowers can be a wonderful way to add both beauty and flavor to a salad. However, not all flowers are edible and the ones that are do need a bit of prep work to be ready to eat. With that being said, flowers can make almost any meal special and should be considered when preparing a gourmet meal or something romantic for your sweetheart. After all, nothing says love like a salad prepared with roses.

Where to Obtain Edible Flowers

Without a doubt, your best option for edible flowers is to grow them yourself. Growing your own edible flowers is not only easy, but much more affordable. More importantly though, knowing exactly where your flowers come from ensures that they don’t have pesticides on them. If you do want to purchase edible flowers there are a few options. Many gourmet markets offer a large selection and some grocery stores have even started carrying edible flowers as well. If you’re really lucky, there may even be a shop in your area that specializes in edible flowers. These stores are a real treat because the shop owner can tell you exactly how to use each flower and the taste each variety provides. There’s only one thing you should avoid when choosing edible flowers. Never buy flowers from a florist or any other shop where the flowers are meant to be decorative. These usually have pesticides as well as other chemicals to make them look better for bouquets.

Preparation

In most cases, the petals are the only part of an flower that will be consumed. To prepare your flowers, you want to first gently pluck the petals, remove the white bases of the petals (these can be bitter) and wash them in warm salt water. You want to make sure to be gentle with the petals as many can easily tear. Once clean, drop the petals in a bowl of ice water. The ice was works on the petals the same way it does on lettuce or other leafy vegetables and will cause the petals to perk back up after their warm soak. You can store your petals in the refrigerator in a zip top bag, but they are best when consumed right away.

5 Edible Flowers for Salads

Pansies

If you’re looking for a flower that will add stunning appeal to your salad, this is it. The entire flower can be laid on top of a salad for beauty, but they also add wonderful flavor. Pansies have a mild flavor, which makes them the perfect addition to something as simple as chef’s salad to something more extravagant with stronger flavors.

Lavender

Lavender is well known for it’s wonderful fragrance, but this beauty also has a sweet flavor that makes it the perfect addition to fruit salads. For example, a fruit salad made with watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe would pair wonderfully with a lavender infused simple syrup.

Roses

Nothing is more romantic than the red rose. Roses can bet quite strong, due to their intense fragrance, which means they should be paired with a salad that is mild in flavor. A salad with strong flavors will compete with the flavor of the rose and ruin the taste of your meal.

Dandelions

Often thought of as a common weed, dandelions are one of the most popular edible flowers due to their zesty flavor. A salad made with arugula, dandelion greens and the tops of dandelions would be not only beautiful, but a peppery starter for a large meal.

Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms add a touch of beauty to a vegetable garden, but can also add wonderful flavor to your salad. One of the most popular ways to prepare squash blossoms is to batter and fry them. The flowers can then be laid of on top of a salad for a delicate decoration that is also quite delicious.

Sources:

A Feast of Flowers – An Epicure’s Guide to Edible Flowers

Edible Flowers: Pansy