Food for thought from my friends at Dirt—a home for sharing stories and meals. Head to Dirt.com to explore more on sustainability, one mouthful at a time.

When you’re a foodie, the exploration of Mother Nature’s offerings is truly infinite, as it serves as the fuel for authentic food experiences. And if there’s a culinary journey that deserves a chance, it’s the realm of edible flowers.

Edible blooms honor the Earth beyond the produce aisle, and between the explosions of color and idiosyncratic flavors, they can seriously up your kitchen cred. Flowers are no longer limited to sterile centerpieces.

Safe consumption is the top priority with edible blooms; it’s best to avoid chomping on just any flower. Parts of some flowers just aren’t safe to eat. The pollen-producing stamen and pistil in flowers may aggravate allergies. Additionally, most stores sell chemically-treated flowers and wildflowers might have been sprayed with pesticides.

Fortunately, becoming a foraging expert overnight isn’t necessary. This is where your local florist comes in. “Most can special order edible blooms for you,” says Malori Maeva, owner of Hoot & Holler, a florist company based in Arizona. Some florists might even sell organic pesticide-free blooms at farmer’s markets. It provides yet another opportunity to support those that tend to the earth.

Thoroughly wash your edible blooms before you use them. Stay curious and don’t be afraid to experiment with the versatile beauty of florals.









01. Tulip




After the stamen and pistil are removed, tulips are extremely versatile. The petals are stiff and strong enough to pose as a mini botanical bowl for anything from tuna and casserole to ice cream or mousse. Individual petals can be added to salads for a colorful crunch, offering a similar taste to crispy lettuce. Pro tip: Red tulips are typically the sweetest.













02. Sunflower




This gentle giant is already popular for its tasty seeds and oil, but actually the entire bloom is edible. For example, young sunflower bulbs can be roasted or steamed like artichokes. Stalks can be eaten like celery, while the roots can be baked, shredded, and added to salads. The leaves, like kale and spinach, can be baked into chips or cooked into stews. Even the bittersweet raw petals can create a symmetry of flavor within sweeter dishes, such as cakes and fruit salads.













03. Daylily




Once the sour green base is removed, a flowered daylily can be used just like a tulip. This opulent orange flower boasts sweet bowl-like petals, ideal for housing cottage cheese, chocolate mousse, or cheesecake. Try tossing the petals into a salad right before serving. For recipes with string beans, chop young daylily shoots and apply your favorite cooking method. After 10 minutes, the cooked shoots will taste like green beans.

Find out the other edible blooms at Dirt!