Yes, you can eat the flowers! (But only the edible ones.) Candied edible flowers make pretty and unique garnishes for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, and fruit salads. Consider making candied flowers when baking for a special occasion such as Mother’s Day, Easter, an afternoon tea, or for gift-giving.
Candied flowers, also called sugared flowers or crystallized flowers, are simply edible flowers that are washed and dried, brushed with egg white or meringue, sprinkled with sugar, and then dried. Generally flowers that have a sturdier petal such as pansies, rose petals, and tulip petals, are perfect to use when making candied flowers as they hold up well when coated with the egg white and sugar.
STOP!! There are many flowers that are edible, but many that are not. Be sure you can positively identify a flower before eating it. Common toxic or poisonous flowers include angel’s trumpet, azaleas, belladonna, calla lily, castor bean, crocus, daffodils, daphne, foxglove, larkspur, lily-of-the-valley, nightshade, and rhododendron. Check with a florist, plant nursery, or garden center to positively identify edible flowers.
Edible Flower Tips
- Be 100% positive that you are using edible flowers.
- Only use flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides.
- Remove the reproductive parts of the flower if possible, the pistils and stamens, as this is the pollen area that can cause allergic reactions. Normally, you will only want to eat the flower petals and discard the other parts of the flower.
- Consume flowers sparingly as too many can cause digestion issues.
- Use the prettiest blossoms and when they are at their peak of their bloom. Early morning and late afternoon are normally best times for cutting flowers. Leave a long enough stem that you can easily hold onto while making the candied flowers, at least 2 to 4 inches.
- Wash each flower gently, but thoroughly, in cool water to remove any dirt or insects before using.
- Use flowers immediately after they are picked. If necessary, place stems in cool water so they don’t start wilting.
- Do not use flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides.
- Do not serve edible flowers along with inedible flowers. Your guests may not realize the difference and accidentally eat an inedible flower.
- Do not use flowers that are damaged or excessively dirty. Avoid flowers growing by the side of the road that have car exhaust and road dirt.
- Do not use flowers that appear to be infested with insects.
- Use caution when eating flowers if you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. Be aware that your guests may also be allergic.
Making Candied Edible Flowers
- Flower blossoms
- Powdered egg whites or meringue powder, equivalent of 1 or 2 egg whites, depending on number of blossoms
- Superfine granulated sugar, about ½ to 1 cup
- Paper towels to dry flowers
- Small shallow bowls for egg white and sugar
- Small artist paintbrush
- Wire rack for drying flowers
- Wash each flower gently but thoroughly in cool water to remove any dirt or insects before using.
- Place washed flowers on paper towels to dry, gently blot the flowers if necessary to remove excess water.
- In a small bowl, combine powdered egg whites or meringue powder with water, using the proportions shown on the egg white or meringue powder container.
- Place sugar in a separate small bowl.
- Holding each flower by the stem, use the small artist paintbrush to apply a thin layer of the egg white mixture to each side of the petals. Cover each petal completely as any places not coated will wilt and turn brown. Tip: Start by coating the back-side of the petals, then turn the flower over and coat the top-side of the petals. It may be easier to lay the flower on a flat dish to coat the egg white mixture rather than holding in your hand.
- Sprinkle sugar over both sides of the flower. Gently shake off any excess sugar.
- Place sugared flowers on the wire rack to dry. Allow the flowers to completely dry and harden, up to 48 hours.
Common and Popular Edible Flowers
There are at least 100 types of common garden flowers that are edible. The following is not a complete list. You may have many of the following edible flowers growing now in your own garden.
|Apple blossoms||Bachelor button||Bee balm||Borage|
|Shasta Daisies||Squash blossoms||Sunflowers||Violets|
Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service