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Flower power

Have you ever ordered a salad and sat wondering whether to eat the colorful flowers with the tomatoes, or if they're best left pushed to the side of the plate? Have you ever tried to garnish a fabulous gourmet dish with flowers? Have you ever ordered a salad and sat wondering whether to eat the colorful flowers with the tomatoes, or if they're best left pushed to the side of the plate? Have you ever tried to garnish a fabulous gourmet dish and found yourself tip-toeing through your front yard, trying to decide which of the flowers you planted are edible?

Today's gourmet meals are judged as much on food presentation as on the taste of their dishes. The use of natural and organic foods is becoming more popular. As a result, the use of flowers in restaurants is growing.

It's important to know what flowers are edible, which ones look good, and which taste good, too. Here are some flower facts for choosing and eating edible flowers:

  • Some of the more popular edible flowers are chive blossoms, chrysanthemums, daisies, nasturtiums, pansies, roses and violets.
  • Distinguish between flowers that garnish a plate, and flowers that are meant to be eaten. Garnish flowers are not always edible. If you’re not sure... ask.
  • Don’t eat flowers unless you’re absolutely sure they are safe. Treat them like wild mushrooms.
  • Eat only flowers that have been grown organically--free of pesticides and non-organic fertilizers.
  • Eat flowers from florists or nurseries only if they have been grown specifically for consumption.
  • Don’t eat roadside flowers. They’re full of pollution from cars.
  • Eat only the flower’s petals.
  • Before using a flower from your garden, call your local poison control center to make sure it isn’t poisonous.
  • Store edible flowers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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