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Updated March 29, 1999

This article was in an issue of the York Daily Record and features some of nature's edible flowers. First of all, here are some "Tasty Rules" for you to consider.


1. Some flowers are poisonous. If you don't know, don't eat!
2. Eat only flowers that have been grown without chemicals. If you have purchased them from a florist or nursery, don't eat them unless you know they were raised organically.
3. Don't eat flowers if you have allergies, asthma or hay fever.
4. Don't eat flowers picked from alongside the road. Car emissions contaminate them.
5. Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only petals.
6. Introduce flowers into your diet gradually, one at a time and in small quantities. Do not eat flowers in excess.


African Violet


Rose Petals
Scented Geraniums
Bachelor Button
Calendula Petals
Dandelion Petals
Squash Blossoms

The following recipes are from "Edible Flowers: from Garden to Palate" by Cathy Wilkinson Barash.


2 cups nasturtium flowers
4 cloves
8 peppercorns
3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 pint malt vinegar
1 pint white vinegar

Put all ingredients except vinegars into a large bottle or small crock. In an enamel or stainless steel saucepan(do not use aluminum for vinegar), heat vinegars to a boil, then pour into the bottle. Seal and set aside to steep for several weeks.
After at least two weeks(up to six weeks), strain the vinegar and discard the solids. Using an enamel or stainless steel saucepan, boil the vinegar for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour into a clean bottle, add several whole nasturtium flowers and seal.
For a milder flavor, use white vinegar instead of malt vinegar. Makes 1 quart.


1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Nasturtium vinegar
1 egg yolk
Salt, pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients together. Do not store any unused dressing as it contains raw egg yolk. Makes 1-1/2 cups dressing.

One of my youthful chores was to help with the shelling of the garden beans. Those bean piles waiting to be shelled seemed endless and we usually had all the neighborhood grown-ups and kids on our back porch, shelling beans, drinking iced tea and sharing neighborly chatter. The company certainly made the job go faster!

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1 cup dried white beans
2-1/4 cups cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chives
4 basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon summer savory
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup nasturtium vinaigrette
15 borage flowers

Rinse beans and discard any imperfect ones. Add beans to cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to stand for 1 hour. Add salt, return pan to the stove and gently simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Remove from heat and cool. Add green and red peppers, chives, basil, summer savory, garlic, pine nuts and vinaigrette. Mix well. Allow to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes, then refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Garnish with borage flowers just before serving. Serves 6.

The next recipe reminds me of the sunflowers we raised one year behind the rabbit pen. Shade for the rabbits and plenty of seeds for the birds! We also saved the seeds and ate them salted.


8 sunflower buds
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
Juice of 2 medium lemons

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add sunflower buds. Boil for 2 minutes. While the water is boiling bring a second pot of water to a boil. After the sunflower buds have cooked for 3 minutes, transfer them to the second pot of water. This gets rid of any bitterness. Continue to cook buds until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
In a skillet, melt the butter. Add bread crumbs and stir, sauteing lightly. When bread crumbs turn golden, toss in sunflower buds. Pour on lemon juice to taste, toss to coat. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired, with sunflower petals. Serves 4.

My Grandmother liked dandelion greens made with a vinegar dressing. Just the thought of this recipe used to make my mouth pucker! I didn't learn to like this concoction until many years later, when I developed a more tolerant taste for unusual foods. The following recipe is very good.


Dandelion greens
4 thick slices bacon(cut in small pieces)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cream
2 eggs(beaten)
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper(to taste)
Paprika(to taste)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Wash dandelion greens as you would lettuce.(Never use dandelion greens after they have begun to flower, as they are usually bitter). Roll in cloth and pat dry. Put greens into a salad bowl and set in a warm place. Fry bacon and turn out onto greens. Put butter and cream into skillet and warm over low heat. Mix into the beaten eggs the salt, pepper, paprika, sugar and vinegar; blend into slightly warm cream mixture. Increase heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Pour hot dressing over greens; toss gently and serve at once.

Dandelion root was often used in kidney and liver disorders. The Pennsylvania Dutch traditionally ate dandelion greens on Green Thursday(Maundy Thursday). If eaten on this day, it was supposed to keep you healthy throughout the year!


Squash blossoms, picked as they
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 tablespoon flour
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt

In a shaker jar, combine milk, flour, salt and pepper. Place squash blossoms in large pan and gently pour the milk-flour mixture over them. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet until a drop of water will sizzle. Fry the batter-coated blossoms in the hot oil until golden brown, drain on paper towel and sprinkle with paprika. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

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