Flower Powered

It may seem like they're a fancy latecomer to the party, but edible flowers have been gracing dishes since Roman times. Loved for their delicate beauty and flavor, the botanicals also offer nutritional zing. So what are you waiting for? The fact is you don’t even need to wait for spring; many edible varieties are easy to start from seed and fare well in containers. Grow your favorites in pots in a sunny window, add them to this year’s garden plan, or order tasty organic blooms from one of many online suppliers. Besides, scattering a few colorful petals on your plate is a simply lovely way to battle the winter blues.




Summer Pasta Linguine with Poppy Seeds, Zucchini Ribbons & Pansies in Lemon Almond Alfredo

Yield: 2 servings


(Yield: 1 cup)

  • 1 yellow pepper, deribbed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
  • 1⁄3 cup almond butter
  • 1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

Add diced yellow pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, almond butter, nutritional yeast, pepper, salt, and lemon extract to a high-speed blender.

Process on high speed until smooth, and set aside. Note: mixture will taste concentrated and slightly salty before tossed with pasta.


  • 1⁄2 pound whole wheat linguine
  • 2 zucchinis, cut into ribbons with peeler
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 12 pansies, or edible flower of choice

Bring a medium pot filled halfway with water to a rolling boil.

Add the linguine and cook for 6 minutes or until tender, taking care not to overcook.

Carefully drain pasta and toss with zucchini ribbons, salt, chili flakes, and lemon almond ‘Alfredo’. If desired, mixture can be thinned slightly with small amount of pasta water.

Plate pasta and garnish with poppy seeds and edible flowers. Serve warm.

Pansy or viola blossoms balance a hearty cream sauce while simultaneously acting as an effective finishing touch.

What’s to love about: Pansies

Pansies have a subtly sweet, grassy flavor. Use the whole flower for stronger flavor. They’re perfect in salads, desserts, soups and pastas.

Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Chive Blossoms

Yield: 18 2-inch pancakes

  • 11⁄2 cups chickpea flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 11⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1  (15.5 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 2  scallions, sliced (1⁄4 cup)
  • 1⁄2 cup chive blossoms
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, for brushing pan

Add the chickpea flour, baking powder, garlic powder, turmeric, salt and coconut milk to a blender and blend until smooth.

Fold scallions into batter.

Heat a large nonstick pan on medium-low heat and brush lightly with coconut oil.

Working in batches, place two spoonfuls of batter to form a round pancake approximately 2 inches in diameter. Fill pan with subsequent pancakes, taking care not to overcrowd.

Sprinkle chive blossoms onto pancakes.

Carefully flip pancakes and cook for an additional minute, taking care not to overcook or brown.

Remove cooked pancakes from pan and repeat with remaining batter. Serve with jalapeno cashew ‘yogurt’.


(Yield: 3⁄4 cup)

  • 1⁄2 cup cashews, soaked and drained
  • 1  jalapeno, chopped
  • 2  tablespoons lemon juice,or to taste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, diced

In a food processor or blender, add the soaked cashews, jalapeno, lemon juice, and salt. Process until smooth, drizzling in a small amount of water if necessary to form ‘yogurt’.

Transfer ‘yogurt’ into serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro and cucumber.

Serve with savory chickpea pancakes.

What’s to love about: Chive Blossoms

Chive blossoms serve up a delicate onion flavor, much like the leaves of the plant but slightly stronger. Separate the florets and sprinkle them onto a variety of savory dishes.

Viola Blossom Honey Lollipops

Yield: 15 lollipops

  • 3⁄4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 15 viola blossoms
  • 15 4-inch lollipop sticks

Place a 2-foot-wide sheet of parchment paper onto a at surface. Line up lollipop sticks on parchment, leaving approximately 2 inches of space between sticks (note: if using lollipop molds, decrease proportion of honey, raising the proportion of organic cane sugar for easy removal).

Arrange the blossoms atop each lollipop stick. If an embedded flower is desired place the blossoms face up; if the preference is to have the flower exposed, place blossom upside down.

Add sugar, honey, and water to a medium pot. (Note: choose large enough pot because mixture will foam when heated.)

Over medium heat, cook the mixture, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 300° to 310 ° F.

Working quickly, carefully take mixture off heat and stir in lemon extract.

Allow mixture to stop foaming and cool for one minute before pouring approximate 1-inch circles atop the arranged blossoms and sticks.

Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the lollipops to set at room temperature before removing them from parchment paper. Wrap in cellophane or plastic wrap for indefinite storage.

The viola blossoms add dimension to the lollipops, and showcase an ingredient usually delicate and transient by preserving them with an amber effect.

What’s to love about: Violas

Violas and violets have a sweet, perfumed flavor. Use these blooms as a pretty finishing touch for drinks and desserts. Or for a special treat, try candied violas.

Nutritional Notes

  • Edible flowers are over flowing with Vitamin C, flavonoids and antioxidants. Lavender is a viable source of Vitamin A, while rose petals contain Vitamin E.
  • Chive blossoms have been traditionally used to help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Minerals can also be found in flowers ranging from potassium in viola blossoms to calcium in borage.
  • Lavender and chamomile can act as very effective sleep aids.
  • Hibiscus is great for detoxifying your liver and regulating cholesterol levels.
  • Marigold is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in many salves and ointments. Marigold-petal tea is said to help with cramps and gastric disorders.

Edible Petal Confetti ‘Funfetti’ Birthday Cake

What’s to love about: Marigolds

Marigold, or calendula, petals taste much milder than the flower smells, lending a slight peppery, tangy note to recipes. Marigolds are also considered “the poor cook’s saffron,” offering the color of the herb and a similar flavor. Use them to brighten desserts, color rice dishes, or dried as a soup garnish.


(Yields approximately 6 cups)

  • 2 (15.5 oz.) cans coconut milk
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1⁄2 cup agar flakes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 1 cup agave syrup
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked and drained
  • 1⁄2 cup coconut oil, melted

Add coconut milk, salt, agar flakes, and lemon extract to a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk to distribute agar and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until agar is completely dissolved.

In a high-speed blender, add the agave and soaked cashews and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Carefully stream in the melted coconut oil and warm coconut agar mixture.

Cool mixture completely until set in refrigerator, for approximately 1 hour. Pulse briefly in food processor, and transfer into piping bags or bowl.

To assemble cake:

Gather 3 cups edible marigold petals or edible flowers of choice.

Add a thin layer of frosting between each layer of cake, along with a sprinkling of flower petals.

Once at four layers, spread a generous layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake, using a spatula to smooth out whenever necessary.

Sprinkle frosting with marigold petals, or edible flower of choice.


  • 31⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, more to flour pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3⁄4 cup freeze dried raspberries, slightly crushed


  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted, more to oil cake pans
  • 11⁄2 cups agave syrup
  • 2  cups water
  • 3  tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 ° F.

Brush a thin layer of coconut oil onto two 9-inch cake pans, followed by a dusting of flour. Line the bottom of each cake pan with a circular piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift and whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and freeze-dried raspberries.

In a separate bowl combine the melted coconut oil, agave, water, vanilla extract, and vinegar.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, just enough to combine. Do not over-mix.

Pour mixture into lined cake pans and place on baking sheet trays. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of each cake. Cool cakes for 15 minutes before gently inverting them out of their pan onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

Once cool, carefully slice each cake in half cross-wise, using a serrated knife.

Botanicals are a natural way to decorate a cake or cupcake, instead of reaching for dyed sugar or artificially produced sprinkles.

Clean and Store Edible Blooms

  • Vigorously shake flowers outdoors to remove insects and soil.
  • Gently dip into a bowl of cold water to wash, or place in a colandar and shower with a fine spray.
  • Let flowers air dry on a paper towel.
  • Flowers are best if used shortly after harvesting, but they can be stored up to a week in an airtight container lined with paper towels to wick remaining moisture.
  • Preserve flowers in a light-colored vinegar, or brush them with egg whites and organic sugar to store for an extended time.
  • To dry flowers, gently press or dehydrate them between two heavy objects..

Herb Blossom Speckled Matcha & White Chocolate Bark

  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1 bunch basil with blossoms (approximately 2 tablespoons), or blossoms of choice

Set up a double boiler on stovetop by bringing a small pot with 3 inches of water to a boil over a medium flame, and placing a heatproof bowl atop the pot.

Line a tray with parchment paper, and set aside.

Add 1 1⁄2 cups of white chocolate chips in the bowl over the heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until all chocolate chips have melted.

Carefully remove hot bowl with melted chocolate from heat, and quickly stir in the remaining 1⁄2 cup of white chocolate chips, continuing to stir until all the chocolate is completely melted.

Pour half of melted chocolate onto parchment paper, using the spatula to spread into approximately 1⁄8-inch thickness.

Gradually sift the matcha powder into the remaining chocolate, whisking vigorously to incorporate. If the mixture becomes too cool to maneuver, place briefly back onto the pot with the steaming water.

Place dollops of the matcha chocolate onto the white chocolate layer, and use a skewer or spoon to gently drag the mixture and form swirls.

Sprinkle chocolate with herb blossoms and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Crack the bark into pieces before serving.

What’s to love about: Basil Blossoms

Basil blossoms are a slightly milder version of the plant’s leaves. Sprinkle them over salad, pastas and desserts for a concentrated flavor hit.

Where To Find Flowers

  • Grow your own in a backyard garden or in containers in a sunny window.
  • Shop for blooms seasonally at farmer’s markets so you can talk to vendors to be sure no pesticides or other chemicals have been used.
  • Shop online from reputable sources. We like: Marx Foods (marxfoods. com) and Gourmet Sweet Botanicals (
  • Avoid florist flowers and roadside wild flowers; they often contain chemicals used as preservatives or pesticides.

Strawberry Pansy Pancake Stack with Warm Rose Jam

Yield: 1 dozen 3-inch pancakes

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries, lightly crushed by hand
  • 1 organic egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brewed hibiscus tea
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted for brushing
  • 12 edible purple pansy flowers (can substitute hibiscus or edible flower of choice)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, coconut sugar and salt. Stir in the freeze-dried strawberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract and brewed hibiscus tea.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingre- dients, just until combined.

Heat a large nonstick pan on medium-low heat and brush lightly with coconut oil.

Working in batches, place two spoonfuls of batter to form a round pancake approximately 2 inches in diameter. Fill pan with subsequent pancakes, taking care not to overcrowd.

Place pansy flower onto pancakes.

Carefully flip pancakes and cook for additional minute, taking care not to overcook or brown.

Remove cooked pancakes from pan, and repeat with remaining batter.


  • 1 10-oz. package frozen strawberries, defrosted slightly
  • 1⁄4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons agar flakes
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater, or to taste
  • pinch sea salt

Add the strawberries, maple syrup, and agar flakes to a small saucepan.

Bring mixture to a simmer over a medium flame, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until mixture has reduced by half and all the agar flakes have dissolved.

Stir in rose water, adjusting amount to taste, and a pinch of salt. Cool slightly before serving.

What’s to love about: Rose Water

Rose water, a liquid distilled from rose petals, dates back to ancient Greece and Persia. It was a popular flavor in the American colonies before vanilla hit the market in the late 1800s.