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Publication: I'm Not Martha
Edible Flowers

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          I'M NOT MARTHA - Tuesday, April 10, 2007

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Hi! I'm Lizzy!!  and I'm not Martha!!!

Hope you all have had a good Easter or Passover.  This came 
to me and looked like something that we would enjoy.

* Hi Lizzy,
I recently bought some tea from a tea store (loose tea 
leaves). It was Cherry Rose Festival Green tea (very tasty 
by the way), and I tried a piece of a rose petal that ended 
up in my cup. It was very tender and pretty good. I was 
wondering if rose petals are eatable and if there are and 
recipes that require them. Thanks Lizzy!

Great topic especially that everyone is putting in their 
gardens and if you want to eat your flowers you will need 
to make some adjustments.

The culinary use of flowers dates back thousands of years 
with the first recorded mention being in 140 B.C. Many 
different cultures have incorporated flowers into their 
traditional foods.

Oriental dishes make use of daylily buds and the Romans used 
mallow, rose and violets. Italian and Hispanic cultures gave 
us stuffed squash blossoms and Asian Indians use rose petals 
in many recipes.

Chartreuse, a classic green liqueur developed in France in 
the seventeeth century, boasts carnation petals as one of its 
secret ingredients.

And, dandelions were one of the bitter herbs referred to in 
the Old Testament of the Bible.

Today there is a resurgence of interest in edible flowers. 
Are all flowers that aren't poisonous edible? Definitely not. 
Listed below are ten simple rules to follow before sampling 

P.S. If you're interested we now have a forum. You can post 
comments on this and recent issues at... Not Martha forum

1.	Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible. 
If uncertain, consult a good reference book on edible flowers 
prior to consumption.
2.	Just because flowers are served with food does not mean 
they are edible. It's easy and very attractive to use flowers 
for garnish on plates or for decoration, but avoid using non-
edible flowers this way. Many people believe that anything on 
the plate can be eaten. They may not know if the flower is 
edible or not and may be afraid to ask.
3.	If pesticides are necessary, use only those products 
labeled for use on edible crops.

4.	Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden 
centers. In many cases these flowers have been treated with 
pesticides not labeled for food crops.

5.	Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road. Once 
again, possible herbicide use eliminates these flowers as a 
possibility for use.

6.	Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. 
Eat only the flower petals for most flowers.
7.	Different flavors occur in plants when grown in different 
locations because of soil types, fertilization, and culture.  
Environmental conditions play a big role as well. What has 
excellent flavor at one time may taste different at the end 
of the season or the next year.
8.	Introduce flowers into your diet in small quantities one 
species at a time. Too much of a good thing may cause 
problems for your digestive system.
9.	If you have allergies, introduce edible flowers 
gradually, as they may aggravate some allergies.
10.	Collect flowers at the optimum time. Pick fully open 
flowers in the cool of the day. Flowers that are not fully 
open (unless buds are desired) or those starting to wilt 
should be avoided.

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Sample a flower or two for flavor before harvesting.

Remove the pistils and stamens because the pollen can detract 
from the flavor of the flower as well as cause allergic re-
actions in susceptible individuals.

After harvest, place long-stemmed flowers in water and then 
in a cool location. Short stemmed flowers should be placed 
between layers of damp paper toweling or in a plastic bag in 
the refrigerator.

Immediately before using, gently wash the flowers to remove 
dirt and check for insects. Before washing, test one flower 
for colorfastness. Some tend to discolor in water.

Only the petals of some flowers such as rose, tulip, yucca 
and lavender are edible. Separate the flower petals from the 
rest of the flower just prior to use to keep wilting to a 
minimum. Roses, dianthus, English daisies, and marigolds have 
a bitter white area at the base of the petal where it was 
attached to the flower. Break or cut off this portion before 


Something very important to know is that ONLY the flowers on 
some of these plants should be eaten, as other parts may be 
at least mildly toxic might save someone some discomfort if 
not more serious consequences.

It's obviously vital to know which flowers are edible and 
which are toxic. Poisonous flowers include lily-of-the-
valley, bleeding heart, buttercup, iris, calla lily, 
narcissus or daffodil, lupine, petunia, sweet pea, monks-
hood, periwinkle, rhododendron and azalea, oleander, 
delphinium, clematis, foxglove, hellebore, wisteria and 

Next week I'll have some recipes for you that feature flowers 
for flavor and fun!


Questions...Comments...? email Lizzy

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