11 edible flowers with potential health benefits
The florals of the central parts of the dinner table with a classic and eternal tradition, but the color concept can also appear on your dinner plate.
The floral centerpieces of the dinner table are a classic and timeless tradition, but flowers can sometimes appear on your dinner plate.
Edible flowers are used in many different styles of cuisine and can be found in menus around the world.
Not all flowers are safe to eat, but those that are, can offer a unique surge of color and color to many dishes, including salads, sauces, drinks and appetizers. Some of them may even offer health benefits.
Here are 11 edible flowers with potential health benefits.
Hibiscus plants produce large, ornate flowers that usually grow in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. There are hundreds of species of hibiscus, but the most popular edible variety is known as roselle or Hibiscus sabdarifa.
Hibiscus flowers can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and come in a wide range of colors – including red, white, yellow and various shades of pink.
Although sometimes grown for strictly decorative purposes, hibiscus is also well known for its culinary and medicinal uses. You can eat the flower directly from the plant, but it is usually used for tea, dishes, jams or salads.
Many crops drink hibiscus tea because of its healing properties. Some research suggests that hibiscus may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, although more research is needed to better understand how hibiscus can maintain heart health (1, 2).
The tea is bright red and has a tart, slightly sour taste. It can be served hot, but is especially refreshing over ice on a hot summer day.
summary Hibiscus flowers are large colored flowers that grow in warm climates. The flowers can be eaten raw, but are often used to make herbal tea. Some studies suggest that hibiscus may have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood pressure.
Capercaillies are best known as stubborn garden weeds. However, they double as a highly nutritious edible flower.
Dandelions have small flowers – approximately 1-1.5 inches (2-4 cm) in diameter – with very small, bright yellow petals. They supply various plant compounds that are known to have powerful antioxidant properties (3).
Interestingly, flowers are not the only part of a dandelion that can be eaten. In fact, any part of this so-called weed can enjoy – including its roots, stems and leaves.
There are endless options for eating dandelion. The flowers can be eaten raw, alone or thrown in a salad. They can be breaded and fried or used to make jelly and wine.
The roots are often soaked to make tea, while greens can be eaten raw as a salad or sandwich garnish. They can also be prepared in stews, stews or any other dish that calls for hearty greens.
summary Dandelions are considered weeds, but double as a highly nutritious edible flower. The flowers – edible raw or cooked – can be used to make a variety of foods such as jelly and wine.
Lavender is a woody, floral herb originally grown in parts of North Africa and the Mediterranean. Violet flowers are very small but abundant.
Lavender is probably best known for its characteristic aroma, which is known for its calming effects (4).
The combination of color and aroma makes lavender a particularly desirable addition to a variety of foods, including pastries, infused syrups, liqueurs, herbal teas, dry spices and herbal blends.
Its aroma goes well with both sweet and spicy ingredients, including citrus fruits, berries, rosemary, sage, thyme and chocolate.
When cooking with lavender, it is best to start with a small amount and increase slowly until you achieve the desired taste, as it can quickly become overwhelming.
summary Lavender is a purple flower, admired for its pronounced aroma. It can be eaten fresh or dried and paired well with various ingredients such as citrus fruits, berries and savory.
There are almost 200 species of honeysuckle, but the most common are Japanese and woody varieties. Aromatic flowers, usually light yellow or white, hold nectar that can be eaten straight from the flower.
Honeysuckle has been vital to the practices of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries (5).
The flowers and their extracts are ingested or applied to the skin to treat various inflammatory conditions. However, its effectiveness as a drug therapy for humans remains scientifically unproven (5).
In the culinary world, honeysuckle is most often used to make tea or fragrant aromatic syrup.
You can use the syrup to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, yogurt and sorbet, or as a sugar substitute in quick bread recipes.
While honeysuckle flower and its nectar are completely safe to eat, keep in mind that the fruits of some varieties can be toxic if taken in large quantities (6).
summary Honeysuckle is a fragrant flower known for its pronounced aroma, sweet taste and traditional medical use. It can be eaten straight from the plant or made into an infused syrup that can complement many dishes.
Nasturtium is a culinary favorite because of its brightly colored flowers and unique, spicy taste.
Both nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible and can be eaten boiled or raw. They have a peppery, slightly spicy taste profile, although the flowers themselves are softer than the leaves.
The funnel-shaped flowers are usually bright orange, red or yellow. They make a beautiful garnish for cakes, pastries and salads.
The leaves are round and look like small lily pillows. They are tender enough to be used as green salads or mixed with pesto.
Nasturtium is not only a universal and eye-catching ingredient, but also a nutrient – it contains a variety of minerals and health-promoting compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (7).
summary Nasturtium is a brightly colored flower known for its spicy peppery taste. Its flowers and leaves are nutritious and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
Borage is an herb that produces delicate, star-shaped flowers. The colors are usually blue, but can also be white or pink.
In herbal medicine, borage is used to treat mild ailments such as sore throat or cough. However, human research to support its effectiveness as a medical therapy is scarce (8).
There is no shortage of ways to put borage in the kitchen, as both the flowers and the leaves are edible. Flowers are often described as a slightly sweet taste, reminiscent of cucumber and honey.
The flowers can be eaten fresh in a salad or as a side dish to desserts and cocktails – or they can be prepared and added to soups, sauces or stuffed pasta fillings. Borage can also be served as a separate vegetable garnish.
summary Borage is an herb that gives small, blue, star-shaped flowers. Used in both traditional medicine and culinary practices, it makes a beautiful garnish for salads or cocktails, and can also be prepared in soups and sauces.
Purslane is succulent, producing tiny, yellow flowers and thick, fleshy leaves – both edible and can be eaten boiled or raw.
Historically, purslane was considered no more valuable than garden weed. However, this small plant has recently jumped in popularity due to its rich nutrient content.
It is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but its biggest claim to nutritional fame is its content in omega-3 fats. In fact, purslan provides more omega-3s than almost any other vegetable of its kind (9).
Purslane flowers and leaves can be served raw in many salads and sandwiches. They can also be sauteed or stewed with other vegetables as a side dish or added to your favorite soups. You may even consider trying this plant flavored and fried.
summary Purslane is a nutrient-rich succulent whose flowers and leaves can be eaten boiled or raw. It provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals – especially omega-3.
There are over 150 types of roses available in almost any size and color that can be presented. The best part is that they are all edible. However, roses do not taste the same.
A good rule of thumb for choosing a fragrant rose is that if it smells nice, it will probably taste good. However, eat only the petals, because the leaves and stems do not make a very pleasant breakfast.
The petals of roses have a very fragrant, colorful and slightly sweet taste.
They can be eaten raw, mixed in various fruit or green salads or dried and added to granola or mixed herbs.
Fresh rose petals can also be mixed and added to liquid to create drinks, jams and jellies soaked in rose. The cut rose petals, added to sugar or butter, give a unique zing to the otherwise ordinary ingredients.
Like many other edible flowers, roses can offer health benefits. Some studies suggest that some compounds in roses may play a role in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation (10).
summary All varieties of roses are edible, but those with the sweetest aroma probably have the most flavor. Rose petals can be used to infuse scented liquids