Edible Flowers: Which Are Edible And Which Are Poisonous

Most hobby gardeners plant flowers to look forward to the flowering splendor later on. Other gardeners want insects like bees to find nectar. But have you ever thought about planting edible flowers? Which can be harvested like vegetables? We open the buffet.

Flowers are a joy to behold in the garden, on the balcony or on the window sill – but they can do much more than just look good.
Many flowers have edible petals, umbels, and leaves that are great in salads, desserts, or refreshing drinks.
But be careful: Not all flowers are edible, some are even poisonous to us humans!
Flowers not only offer bees, butterflies and other insects vital food, many flowers are also edible for us and spice up dishes visually and culinary. We show you which flowers you can eat – and which ones you better keep your hands off.

These flowers are edible

Have you ever wondered what chamomile tea is actually made from? That’s right, from the flowers of the chamomile plant. So we eat some flowers or drink their extract without thinking too much about it. But there are many more edible flowers. Here we present five of them in more detail:

1. Daisies

We all know daisies, as children we braided necklaces and bracelets out of them – and certainly tasted one or the other flower. And that is absolutely correct, because the white-yellow flower heads are full of healthy bitter substances. Fortunately, the flowers with the white petals and yellow buds do not have a poisonous double.

Important: Do not pick the flowers from meadows where there are many dogs, next to busy roads or near former industrial sites. The soil there can be contaminated – and with it the daisies.

Goes great with: The flowers look beautiful on the sandwich and taste delicious. Also in salads or as a garnish on the soup.

2. Edible flowers: Nasturtium

Nasturtium blooms bright yellow, orange and red and snakes colorfully up house walls or trellises. The medicinal plant of the year 2013 not only looks beautiful, but is also used in natural medicine, for example for bacterial infections, urinary tract and respiratory tract infections.

Its colorful flowers taste peppery and slightly hot, similar to cress.

Eat nasturtium: You can eat the flowers pure, they taste even better in salads, in herb quark and butter or as an edible decoration in soup or on dessert. You can also eat the leaves of the nasturtium and use them to flavor salad dressings, soups or spreads. The dried buds make a good substitute for pepper.

If you want to use the whole plant, you can use it with olive oil and salt to make pesto.

3. Elderberry: Attention, risk of confusion!

Whether as Hugo or in elderberry lemonade – elderflowers are a popular drink for many people in summer. But you can do even more with the flowers. You can cut black elderflowers from the elder bushes in spring from around the beginning of May to the end of June and even eat them raw. Since the other parts of the plant are raw but not edible, it is best to dry the buds for later use.

Important when picking: Do not confuse the light yellow, edible flowers of the black elder with the flowers of the dwarf elder (also known as parakeet).

Fortunately, both flowers can be reliably distinguished: the herbaceous dwarf elder usually does not grow larger than 1.5 meters, the berries have a slight dent and grow upwards. With the black elder, the berries hang downwards.

Use elderflowers in the kitchen: You can fry the blossom shoots in dough and serve them as “Elder-Küchle”, the harvested blossoms can be further processed into jelly, elderflower syrup or poured into tea.

4. Dandelion

Dandelions are a nice childhood memory, but don’t wait for the dandelions to fade. You can eat the yellow flowers of the plant as well as the jagged green leaves, they provide minerals and bitter substances. Dandelion aids digestion and stimulates the appetite. However, do not pick flowers and leaves near busy roads.

You can boil the dandelion blossoms into syrup, for example:

Boil about 300 grams of flowers with two liters of water, remove from the stove and leave overnight.
Filter the brew through a cloth and squeeze the flowers with it.
Stir a kilo of cane sugar into the flower water, bring to the boil again and simmer until a thick syrup is formed.
If you like, add a dash of lemon or orange juice.

The flowers also taste good when brewed as a tea. You can prepare the dandelion leaves as a salad or mix them with olive oil, nuts, Parmesan and garlic to make a pesto.

5. Zucchini flowers are edible

Zucchinis provide us with important vitamins, minerals and iron. As a rule, you can even eat zucchini raw. But not only the green pumpkin plant itself is edible, you can also write the zucchini blossoms on the menu in the future.

Stuffed zucchini flowers: the recipe

You can either enjoy stuffed zucchini flowers cold or fry the flowers in hot oil. That’s how it’s done:

Wash the fresh flowers carefully, remove the pistil inside and let dry.
Mix cream cheese or ricotta with grated Parmesan, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Carefully fill the blossoms with the cream (it is better to use a little less filling) and close the blossoms by folding the tips inwards over one another.
Either serve immediately or gently dredge in flour and fry in hot oil until the flowers are golden brown. Drain the flowers on kitchen paper before serving.
You can also add many other fillings to the zucchini flowers and bake them in the oven. How about, for example, chickpea puree, bulgur, couscous or rice? Or you can simply mix the flowers into the next salad or spread.

Edible Flowers: Dos and Don’ts

Only the flowers of the mentioned plants are edible. Therefore, do not rip out the plant including the root, but cut off the flower neatly with scissors or a small knife.
Since the delicate petals buckle quickly, it is best to collect them in an open basket.
Before you process or eat the flowers, wash the picked leaves and umbels carefully but thoroughly, or at least shake them out well.
If you don’t have a flower meadow nearby, you can buy edible flowers at the organic weekly market, in organic shops or online. Also read: What is more ecological: Buy directly from the farmer, at the market – or in the discounter?
Prepare edible flowers quickly so that they arrive fresh on the plate.
You should only enjoy daisy and dandelion flowers in small amounts, larger portions are not healthy. For example, they can cause digestive problems.

How to prepare the edible flowers

The great thing about edible flowers is that there are no limits to your imagination when it comes to preparing them. You can put the flowers fresh on sandwiches or in a summer salad, dry them, cook them, make them into jelly or syrup. Edible flowers can also be preserved in alcohol or vinegar.

The following applies: flower blossoms usually have a sweeter taste and are therefore well suited for desserts, sweet foods and drinks. Blossoms of herbs or vegetables, on the other hand, go particularly well with hearty stews.

Tip: Dry different flowers and mix them with table salt to make a flower salt. Nicely bottled, this is also an excellent gift.

Caution: Which flowers are not edible

Many flowers are not very digestible, some are even (highly) poisonous. Poisonous plants include: columbine, Christmas rose, monkshood, angel’s trumpet, foxglove, laburnum, buttercup, autumn crocus, lily of the valley, hemlock, sweet clover and deadly nightshade.

In general, if you are unsure whether a flower or blossom is edible, do not take any risks and leave the plant alone.

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Written by Elizabeth Bailey

As a seasoned recipe developer and nutritionist, I offer creative and healthy recipe development. My recipes and photographs have been published in best selling cookbooks, blogs, and more. I specialize in creating, testing, and editing recipes until they perfectly provide a seamless, user-friendly experience for a variety of skill levels. I draw inspiration from all types of cuisines with a focus on healthy, well-rounded meals, baked goods and snacks. I have experience in all types of diets, with a specialty in restricted diets like paleo, keto, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. There is nothing I enjoy more than conceptualizing, preparing, and photographing beautiful, delicious, and healthy food.

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