Simon’s Simples: More Edible Flowers

Edible Flowers

There are quite a few edible flowers but please check you have identified them properly. They range from those with medicinal value to others that are just fun to eat. Here is a selection of easily identifiable edible flowers for you to add to food.

Borage, Pot Marigold, Nasturtium and Primroses


Borage is a pretty, blue flower that can be added to salads, summer drinks and juices, such as apple juice. It is great fun to freeze the flowers into ice cubes and serve them up with a summer drink such as Pimms. It has a traditional use for aiding courage and bringing good cheer, so mixes well with a tonic tipple.

Borage flowers in an ice tray


More popularly known as Pot Marigold, this is easy to grow. Sown direct onto the soil in a sunny position in the spring, it will often reseed and give a second crop. You can also keep the plant going through to autumn by dead-heading. The petals are the colour of a good sunset and are often used for their slightly spicy flavour in cheese dishes, rice dishes, salads, omelettes, with fish, in bread and scones, as much for their saffron colour as for their taste and effect. French Marigold can also be used for these. An ointment made from Marigold flowers is used for cuts, burns, bruises and sores and an infusion of the petals makes a relaxing eyewash. I collect many petals over the summer and mix them with rice as a kind of English saffron.


Although these beautifully scented flowers are well known as an ingredient in pot-pourri, the petals can also be used in green salads or on fruit dishes.


This brightly coloured flower is an interesting addition to salads, but make sure you remove the flower stamen and all green and brown parts before treating as food.


Hollyhock is the archetypal cottage garden flower. It has tall flower spikes that sway in a light breeze. The flowers are used to flavour syrups and as decoration for fruit fools and fruit salads.


Lavender flowers can be treated similarly to Rosemary, and make a tasty addition to flavour sugar or make candies as described inĀ  ‘Rosemary flowers’. This plant has a wonderful scent that imparts well to meringues and even is even used in biscuits.


Another easy-to-grow annual that comes in creeping or climbing, trailing or bushy varieties, with a range of colours from yellow to deep scarlet. Both the flowers and leaves can be used in salads and impart a peppery taste not unlike watercress. The leaves are very tasty chopped into cottage cheese. Research is finding that nasturtium leaves may have anti-cancer properties so leaves and flowers are a great addition to summer salads.


This beautiful spring flower is becoming scarce in some areas so please don’t pick them – grow them instead. The flowers have a delicate flavour which is delicious in salads but make sure to remove the stamen and green parts.


The buds, petals and seeds from this plant are edible and it is often farmed for oil extraction. The young buds are similar to artichokes in flavour but it seems a shame to eat them when they turn into such magnificent flowers, the plants often growing to eight or nine feet tall. The seeds are most delicious and if you grow your own make sure not to waste them.


These flowers are also fun to freeze into ice cubes and use in summer drinks. They are tasty with both green salads and fruity salads and are easily grown in garden borders and containers.