There are dozens of uses for edible flowers – here are some particularly pretty ones to try.

edible flowers

Borage (Borago officinalis)

Use fresh in salad, with meat and fish dishes or in drinks


Pansies (Viola tricolor and hybrids)

As well as fresh in salad, use to decorate puddings and cakes


Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Either fresh in salad or to garnish pasta


Roses (Rosa species, hybrids and cultivars, especially those sweetly scented)

Use fresh in salad and to decorate cakes, also for jam and crystallising or to flavour syrups and drinks


Common marigolds (Calendula officinalis)

Use fresh, dried or preserved in oil or vinegar, in salads, soups, sautées, stews, puddings and cakes


Primroses and cowslips (Primula vulgarise, P. veris and cultivars)

Use fresh or crystallised


Lady’s smock or cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis)

Excellent in salads and as a garnish for delicately flavoured white dish doe an intense hit of watercress and capers


Courgette (Cucurbita pepo var. cylindrica)

Batter and deep-fry the bloom. Generous chefs use female flowers, complete with the delicious baby marrows


Wild garlic or damson (Allium ursinum)

Lends a sweet garlicky pungency to salads, herby butter and soft cheese, soups, lamb and venison


Elder (Sambucus nigra)

For cordials, wine and jelly. The whole inflorescence can also be coated in batter and lightly deep-friend to make a lacy fritter, served powdered with icing sugar or dipped in chilli sauce


Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Use the flower spikes to flavour sugar, honey and vinegar or serve with roasted meat. Scatter fresh, individual flowers in a buttery sponge cake, as with caraway seeds


Thyme (Thymus)

Flower spikes of all garden kinds of thyme enliven salads and are a superb garnish for grilled meat and trout


Daylily (Hemerocallis)

A vibrant addition to stir-fries, Chinese-style soups and salads, tasting mildly of radish and green beans (use sparingly until sure they agree with you)


Bergamot (Monarda didyma)

Brightens rice, pasta and poultry dishes. Also makes an uplifting tisane, fresh or dried


Carnations and pinks (Dianthus)

Fresh or preserved in salad, to decorate cakes and puddings and to flavour sugar, oil and vinegar


For a wider selection and further guidance, visit the RHS website: www.rhs.org.uk/advice

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