The cheese plates and charcuterie boards at Los Angeles boutique cheese shop Lady & Larder are showstopping pieces of artwork. What makes them so special? The edible flowers artfully arranged on each, which shop owner Sarah Simms aptly describes as “glitter.” Simms' boards got us thinking about how we could cultivate and use edible flowers of our own. Here are some of the most popular flowers we discovered for growing and decorating cheese boards — and other edible creations. Be sure to purchase your edible flowers from an organic no-spray farm, or farmer’s market. Then add them to soups, salads, dips, cakes — anything you want to transform into a floral feast.
A staple in cooking, these vibrantly colorful flowers are sweet but slightly peppery, a bit like watercress. Nasturtiums can be added to fresh salads, and you can throw them fresh into sandwiches, appetizers and cocktails.
The tender, crispy shoots and tendrils of young pea plants, with their colorful, delicate flowers, are wonderful edible additions to salads and stir-fries. They have a sweet, grassy flavor.
With a sweet and somewhat citrus taste, hibiscus has a hint of cranberry flavor. Hibiscus petals are the perfect garnish for fresh salads.
Unlike French lavender, with its strong pine scent, English lavender has a mild, sweet taste and can be used as an elegant alternative to rosemary.
Pansies are tart with a bit of grassy and minty undertones. They’re often used as garnishes in fresh fruit or vegetable salads, desserts and even soups.
Blue borage flowers are star-shaped, vibrant blooms that add beauty to the plate, along with a mild cucumber flavor that some describe as having a sweet honey flavor.
Unopened sunflower buds can actually be steamed and eaten as you would an artichoke. Their bright yellow petals can add a splash of color and flavor to your otherwise boring salad.
Fragrant, floral and citrus, they’re perfect in fresh salads. Lilacs can also be candied or crystallized with egg whites and sugar.
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