Issue #190: The Floral Issue

That flower is so pretty you could just eat it right up!

No, really, you can.

Edible flowers are all around us if you know where to look, and are the perfect unexpected addition to a summer salad, refreshing cocktail, or even as an edible garnish atop that cake you just perfected. The important thing with using edible flowers is to know which ones are actually edible, and which to keep off your plate.

Foraging is a great way to source local ingredients and edible plants, even if you’re a city-dweller. Because flowers are brightly colored and have distinctive shapes, it’s easier to distinguish between a funky flavor and a future tummy ache. Here are five flowers that’ll add a bit of fun to any dish, and are already growing somewhere outside your front door.


Redbuds are responsible for the glorious spring blossoms that crowd the roads, yards, and sidewalks in springtime, and are known for providing a nice pop of color to a landscape. The purple-pink flowers that seem to swarm the tree come into bloom before the leaves of the plant appear, usually in the early spring. The bright pink flowers taste almost as good as they look, with a tart and slightly sweet flavor. Avoid the buds and snack on the fully-opened flowers instead.

Wood sorrel

Wood sorrel leaves are widely used in plant-heavy cuisines like New Nordic cooking, but the flowers are delicious in their own right. Their punchy sourness makes them a tasty addition to salads, on seafood, and any other food you might season with a sour citrus like lemon. The flowers can be yellow, pink, or white, opening up a plethora of decorating opportunities.

Black locust

Blink and you’ll miss it – the black locust bloom is only around for a week or two, so you’ll have to grab them as soon as you see those white sleeves opening up. Locust is technically a legume, so the flower’s flavor is similar to a pea’s but a bit sweeter. Because of this, black locust flowers can be eaten raw but are delicious when added to dishes you’d usually use peas in, like a savory stir fry.


Clover is a lawn weed that appears all over North America, making it super easy to come by without much effort. Clover flowers are on the sweet side and make a great tea. White clover is tastier than red clover, although both are technically edible. Avoid any wilted brown petals, and focus on the petals alone for the sweetest taste.


Yes, it’s technically a weed, but dandelion flowers are also super sweet to the taste. Just make sure you avoid the green parts if you aren’t a fan of intense bitterness. Dandelion flowers are great for eating raw or cooked, and their bright yellow color are a great way to punch up a plain looking dish.