Edible flowers bursting with life, flavour and colour inspiration!

Tulips and botanical gardens aren’t the only things that are blooming this season.

The rise of the edible flower and micro-greens trend has made its way into dishes and drinks across South Africa. 

We used to admire beautiful blooms, or enjoy their fragrance - but now we’re looking at them, in a whole new way - as food.

Of course this trend is booming in the age of Instagram shots and social media food photos, delighting viewers and surprising tasters. 

Such is the demand for flowers to colour and flavour dishes that punnets of violas and marigolds are now to be stocked alongside staple fresh herbs such as coriander and basil in your local supermarket, as mainstream retailers look to cash in on what is being billed as the summer’s hottest food trend.

Edible options 

  • Calendula
  • Dandelions
  • Hibiscus 
  • Roses

Some are spicy, and some herbaceous, while others are floral and very fragrant. 

It’s not uncommon to see flower petals used in salads, teas, on desserts. They add flavour to salads, soups, and beverages with negligible added calories because petals are usually around 95 % water-based.

Unicorn Chia Parfait, layered with blue chia pudding and soy yoghurt naturally turned bright pink thanks to Beet powder.

Other benefits

Edible flowers can also help boost wellness - and you can easily grow many of them at home. 

However, it's important to note that not every edible flower is alike. 

While some can be eaten whole, others, like the good old rose must have their pistils and stamens removed before eating. Do your research first.

It’s also very important to be aware of allergies, you don’t want to exacerbate a reaction all for the Gram. Lastly, adding edible flowers to maple and cashew ice cream or vegan vegetable chowder or berry lavender poached pear granola does not make these items healthy foods.

One more thing: pick your flowers and buds on dry mornings, before the sun becomes too strong - that way the colour and the flavours will be intense. I must also add a stern warning, if you are in doubt, don’t eat it!