At our Carmel Valley Farm Stand, we grow everything organically – from the original heirloom raspberries to all the veggies in the kitchen garden to fresh herbs to flowers. Not all the flowers are edible, but we still grow everything organically because it makes us a better partner with Mother Nature. Organic practices keep our verdant and colorful little ecosystem happy, healthy, and productive.
Because it’s all organic, Chef Lucia can confidently walk out into the garden and select any edible flower to add flash and flavor to her salad masterpieces. And she does. Check out this delightful summer salad, festooned with colorful flowers.
Want to try adding some edible flower to your next salad? Here are a few rules of thumb:
- Use only organic flowers! This is critically important because rule about pesticides used on flowers (other than organic flowers) don’t take into account that the flowers could be consumed.
- Use them when they’re super fresh – petals tend to be delicate and wilt quickly.
- Before adding to your salad, rinse the flowers in cold water or dunk them quickly in a bowl of cool water to remove any dirt and gently shake off the water and let them air dry for just a bit.
- Flowers tend to be on the delicate side, so they pair perfectly with salads made from any of our organic baby greens
Not every flower is edible! But here are some of our favorites for salads. You can download this chart here.
There are probably as many flavors of roses as there are varieties, with stronger flavors in the darker varieties. The flavors are typically sweet, slightly fruity and even spicy. A salad garnished with rose petals feels quite luxurious. Also a key ingredient in Janna Jo’s Fancy Herb Water.
In case the name wasn’t obvious, these dramatic flowers are adored by our pollinator friends. And they bring a stately presence to the garden. This ornamental herb is also the source of the much beloved Earl Grey tea, which is made from its leaves and blossoms. You can use the leaves and blossoms in salads, too. They have a fairly pronounced herby that’s a cross between oregano and mint.
Some people think of these as almost weeds – maybe because they are super hardy and can really take over in the right conditions. But they can really gussy up any salad with their brilliant colors and sweet, peppery flavor, similar to watercress.
Pansies have a slightly sweet, grassy flavor that’s milder in the petals and much stronger in the entire flower. They’re tasty and beautiful in fruit salads, green salads, desserts or in soups.
Calendula/Marigolds – Only the petals are edible
Bright and sunny in warm golds and oranges, their flavor can range from bitter to tangy to peppery. They have also been substituted for saffron, in a pinch. The petals can add a beautiful and flavorful sprinkling of gold to your salads.
These super flashy flowers have a flavor something like cranberry with a touch of citrus. A glamorous addition to any salad, but use sparingly.