Did You Know Flowers Are One Of Nature’s Super Foods?

Edible Flowers Good For Your Health

chives-blooming
Edible Chives in Bloom

Flowers are incredibly versatile plants, everybody knows this.  They're beautiful and can be used as ingredients in lotions and perfumes, they work well in various art projects, they can be used for colors and pigments, they can be used for so much more.  Did you know they can also be eaten to improve your health?

You read that right.  There are many different flowers and weeds that you can grow in your own back yard for a great way to get extra Vitamin A and C into your diet.  Flowers have been traditionally used in European, Asian, East Indian, Victorian English, and Middle Easter cooking but were also eaten by early American settlers.

Generations of people have been eating the petals and greens of some flowers and weeds for years because they have such a great effect on your health.  Now, not all flowers are edible.  In fact, some are downright poisonous if consumed.  It's very important to know which flowers you can eat and which you should not before you picking your next snack from your garden!

 

Edible Flowers

The health benefits you obtain from eating flowers, weeds, and greens varies.  Some groups are rich in vitamins and minerals while others aid specific bodily systems like the digestive tract, cardiovascular system, etc.  We've grouped these edible flowers by the health benefits they provide.

When looking to add edible flowers to your diet, you want to make sure you are able to identify each flower and confirm they aren't poisonous.  The flowers you eat should not have been treated with pesticides unless the pesticides used were specifically for treating edible crops.  The soil should also be free from animal manure at least 4 months.

The flowers should be harvested at peak bloom and eaten quickly for the best flavor.  Never use flowers that are grown roadside.  If purchased at a florist, garden center, or nursery, they should be labeled as edible.  Also, be sure to introduce one flower at a time into your diet so that you can identify any allergic reactions.  If you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever...you shouldn't eat flowers.

roses
Rose Bloom

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Marigolds, Portulacas, Purslanes, Roses, and Chives are all significantly rich in vitamin C.
  • Dandelions are also high in both vitamin C and vitamin A.  The greens are full of healthy minerals such as phosphorous, calcium, and iron.
    • This is great for building strong bones, reducing cholesterol and inflammation, and regulating weight and metabolism.

Digestive Aids

  • Elderberry and calendula blooms are the leading flowers for digestion.  They help with common stomach problems such as bloating, cramping, constipation, and irregularity.
  • Goldenrod blooms also help digestion but they also help with urinary tract infections and allergy relief.  These are great in salads, baked goods, or even used as garnish.
    • Interesting tip: if you use them in tea, they can help reduce fevers and stimulate the immune system.

Stress and Sleep Aids

  • Lavender flowers, soft chamomile blooms, and California poppies are well-known stress and sleep aids.  They can be used in oils, teas, lotions, drops, medications, and even bath soaps.  They're definitely a delicious and natural way to unwind at the end of a long day and get a restful night of sleep.
Hibiscus Bloom
Hibiscus Bloom

Detox Aids

  • Hibiscus flowers contain a number of antioxidants that can prevent cholesterol deposits and even help with liver problems and disorders.
    • Antioxidants are effective anti-aging nutrients that reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation cleansing the body of toxins that build up from the every day foods we eat, dirty air we breathe, stress we feel, and even some everyday household products we use.
      • When you cleanse the body of these, you feel better, more alert, lighter, and even happier.

Pain Relievers

  • Hyssop flowers and honeysuckle are great for relieving respiratory problems and soothing pain in the stomach and colon.
  • Mullein flowers help with these as well as headaches and common body aches.
Red Clover Blooms
Red Clover Blooms

Antibiotic and Anti-inflammatory Aids

  • Violets and violas contain anti-inflammatory properties which help with relaxation and soothing of the worst symptoms of fevers and colds.
  • Nasturtiums contain natural antibiotic properties which are great at fighting an infection or bacterial illness.
  • Red clover blooms are an effective blood purifier and can be consumed in tea.

For more information and a chart of edible flowers, see Choosing and Using Edible Flowers, published by North Carolina State University.

Natural Recipes

Salads, teas, baked goods, jellies and jams, breads, stir-fry, roasts and many other dishes can include these delicious and natural additions.  Your family will enjoy the health benefits that come along with the great tasting food you're preparing for them!  But, like fruits and vegetables, when and how you harvest edible flowers influences the quality of your food.

Edible Daisy
Edible Daisy

Once your garden is in bloom, start exploring natural recipes for your edible flowers, weeds, and greens.  They are a wonderful way to get to nature and brighten up your diet.  Flowers like apple, pea, lemon, orange, begonias, tulips, etc. are awesome just for the flavoring they add.

Be sure to harvest your flowers either early or late in the day when the blossoms are cooler.  The basis for aroma and flavor, sugars and volatile oils are highest before heat and photosynthesis converts them into starch.  They should be harvested as soon as or right around when they open.  When picking flowers, gently place them in a shaded basket without crushing them.

Clean off any dirt or bugs before storing in the refrigerator in a hard container.  Before you use them, wash the flowers gently removing the stamens and styles before adding them to your meal.  Also, make sure you know which parts of each flower are edible.  For some, only the petals are edible.  Get started on your diet and see what you can do to liven up your dishes while getting rid of these frustrating ailments.

 

Responsible Consumption

Flower Salad
Flower Salad

Now...all of that being said, don't go picking wild flowers to munch on while strolling through your local park.  The best place to find edible flowers, other than your garden, is at your local farmer's market.  They typically have a large selection and you can ensure that they are organic flowers that haven't been treated with pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

Your grocery store's produce section may have them or you can order them online from websites that ship overnight so that you get them fresh.  Of course, you can always grow your own after learning the proper safety measures for consumption.

We must encourage you to do your homework and research thoroughly before adding these to your diet.  While alternative health sites may offer glowing reviews for these natural remedies, they may not always be backed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or your doctor.  Talk to your doctor about it and research whether turning to nature is the smartest and most effective way to get the best health for you.

What's in your garden?  We love to hear if you've tried any of these or know of other recipes using organic flowers and greens.  Drop a line in the comments below to let us know!

~Ki

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.