Edible flowers are plants that are safe for human consumption, and they can serve as vegetables in meals or be used for herbal purposes. Many editable flowers are essential in the culinary world, as they serve a nutritional, tasty, and decorative purpose. Just like produce, editable flowers have a short shelf life, so it’s optimal to use them up to a week after a harvest.
How Long Do Edible Flowers Last?
All fresh flowers should be used as soon after the harvest as possible. Flowers to cook with are more fragile than other perishable foods and typically only last around two days when exposed to oxygen. However, many editable flowers can last 4-6 days if kept in an air-tight container. Flowers will start to curl around the edges and wilt around the 3rd day and expire on the 6th.
The Best Editable Flowers
If you plan on eating flowers regularly, the best way to keep a long-lasting supply is by growing them yourself. Some of the best edible and easy to grow flowers you can enjoy include:
- Hibiscus: Tastes Sweet. Great in teas, salads, jams, and relishes.
- Lavender: Tastes Sweet. Great in practically everything, especially chocolate.
- Rose: Tastes Very Sweet. Great in salads, herb, and granola mixes, or with sugar.
- Borage: Tastes Savory. Great in salads, desserts, soups, and sauces.
- Honeysuckle: Tastes Very Sweet. Great in syrups, yogurt and lemonade.
- Pansy: Tastes Earthy. Great for decorative purposes and for cakes and salads.
- Dandelion: Tastes like Honey. Great in salads. Incredibly nutritious superfood.
- Nasturtium: Tastes like Pepper. Great in many Mexican dishes, salads, and pastries.
- Purslane: Tastes Savory. Great in sandwiches, salads, and sauteed with veggies.
- Squash Blossom: Tastes like Squash. Great fried and stuffed with cheese.
To harvest your editable flowers, simply snip the blossoms off with a pair of scissors. If you don’t want to wait for your florals to grow, you can buy food-grade flowers online or at the grocer.
How to Shop for Edible Flowers
Similar to produce, editable flowers will start to change color, texture, and size as they go bad. If you’re buying flowers instead of growing them, look out for the following visual markings/signs:
Mold (Spider-Webs or Grey/White Patches)
Never buy flowers that have visible mold on the petals and stems. Flower-specific mold will usually look web-like or greyish white. Both mold types will fuse the petals together. Although you can remove moldy flowers, it isn’t recommended as the fungus is still inside the package.
Petals (Curling Edges, Floppy Decaying)
Are the petals life-like and perky, or are they curling at the edges and look a little floppy? Fresh flowers will feel and look crisp. If a petal looks limp or looks brown and decayed, it’s uneditable. Since the flowers in your package were picked at the same time, just get rid of the whole lot.
Color (Dull, Colorless and Devoid of Life)
Freshly picked flowers will look bright, vibrant, and beautiful. Avoid packaged flowers that look dull and lifeless because they’re either close to expiring or have already gone bad.
How Can I Preserve Edible Flowers?
There are three ways you can preserve flowers to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible. Depending on how you’ll eat your flowers, you can get away with more hasty preservation techniques, like freezing or food dehydration. Let’s take a look:
- Air-Tight Container: Mason jars are the perfect air-tight container for preserving flowers. Ensure your flowers are completely dry before placing them inside.
- Crystallization: Use a water and sugar rub to crystalize flowers you’ll use for baking.
- Food Dehydrator: Place flowers at 100 degrees for a couple of hours in a food dehydrator. You can also dry flowers in an oven at 170 degrees for 8-12 hours.
- Freezing: Put petals and water in an ice cube tray and remove once frozen.
Preserved flowers won’t taste as good as fresh, so only buy flowers you’ll use immediately.
Article Submitted By Community Writer