Edible flowers are an often overlooked source of beauty, flavor and concentrated nutrients for the mindful consumer. Just make sure you know which ones to eat, as they are not all edible.
When a plant goes into its flowering phase, because it is preparing to reproduce, it puts most of its energy into developing the flower. The flower is the plant’s reproductive unit, exposed to attract a pollinator. When the process is complete, the flower produces a fruit or seed to reproduce the life of the plant.
When we consume edible flowers, we are consuming a plant’s concentrated life force.
Never miss a chance to consume edible flowers, especially when freshly picked. Broccoli and cauliflower “florets” are especially sweet and nutritious but the flowers made by these plants are delightful, sweet bites.
The vivid colors of edible flowers suggest the presence of beneficial compounds including phytonutrients, flavonoids and antioxidants, all of which can lower your risk of certain health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
- Violets contain rutin, a phytochemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that ay help strengthen capillary walls
- Rose petals contain bioflavonoids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E
- Nasturtiums contain cancer-fighting lycopene and lutein, a carotenoid found in vegetables and fruits to support vision
- Lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron, and is said to benefit the central nervous system
- Chive blossoms contain vitamin C, iron and sulfur, and have traditionally been used to help support healthy blood pressure levels
- Marigolds, also called calendula, contain flavonoids, which help protect the cells from damage
Before eating any flower, make sure it is edible. As a general rule, assume any flower from a florist, nursery or garden center is not edible, as these are nearly always heavily treated with pesticides.