As springtime flowers bloom, we're bringing the edible ones into our kitchen. From herbaceous blossoms to textured sprigs, flowers add sweetness or spice to a variety of dishes. Here are five of our favorites; look for them in your garden, farmers' market, or order online from The Chef's Garden.
Sweet and herbaceous, these star-shape blossoms of an herb found throughout the Mediterranean release a cucumber-like fragrance and flavor. The powder-blue flowers, a traditional garnish for a Pimm's cup, are a natural match with cucumbers in salads and sauces.
These spicy flowers come in shades ranging from pale yellow to deep red. Drop a bloom onto a bowl of gazpacho, or fold chopped petals into softened chevre or herbed butter to unleash their peppery flavor.
3. French Marigolds
These yellow-trimmed vermilion blooms taste like a blend of tarragon and radicchio. Toss the petals into a salad in place of bitter greens, sprinkle them over grilled fish, or lay them on a stack of sauteed prawns. Often used in orange dyes, the flowers will also lend their color and flavor to rice dishes the same way that saffron does.
Also called "bachelor's buttons" (supposedly because love-struck lads once wore them on their lapels), these blossoms have a subtle, sweet spiciness. Toss them into salads, add them to tea blends for a clovelike aroma, or nestle them onto frosted cakes as a garnish.
Despite their berry-red color, these textured petals taste exactly like sweet corn. Sometimes known by their poetic common name, "love-lies-bleeding," the sprigs add color draped over poached eggs or tucked into a fruity beverage.