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Edible Flowers For Fall in the Midwest

Dandelions, pansies, and chives oh my! 

Let’s talk about the edible flowers of the midwest! 


Below is a list of the fall edible flowers you can grow in Kentucky and the midwest as well as some ways to use edible flowers. Some add strong flavor, others are used in herbal remedies, and all of them look beautiful taking any dish from good to gorgeous! I always encourage gardeners to plant fruits, vegetables, and flowers to increase their food security through their garden. The flowers help attract more beneficial bugs and pollinators and if you use the flowers listed in the blog you can eat them all too so no space in the garden goes to waste.


Keep in mind when growing these treat them just like fruits and veggies, avoid using pesticides and herbicide on the plants especially the flower and try to only use natural fertilizers. Give me a call if you want to fertilize your beds because I’ve got a great all natural soil booster I can come and apply as well as clean up your beds and plant them!


1. Arugula 

Description: Small four petal white flowers with deep green purple veins and a spicy flavor. They are produced at the end of the arugula’s life cycle so the arugula leaves turn bitter when the flower forms. The flowers are high in vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium.

Use: These are fantastic in a salad. They add a bit of spice and beauty and are more fun than just adding black pepper to your salad.

2. Basil 

Description: The flowers bloom along a spike that will grow from the top of bolting basil. The flowers are small and range from white to a deep pink. Their taste is similar to basil though if you harvest it later it might be slightly bitter so always sample one before using.

Use: You’ve heard of basil pesto but what about basil flower pesto! It enhances the flavor and adds a little extra color and texture. You can also use basil flowers to infuse oils, a few spikes of basil in a tall olive oil bottle are beautiful and great on pizza or for dipping bread. 

3. Borage

Description: A star shaped bright blue/purple flower. The flavor is similar to cucumber and honey combined making it a refreshing drink or addition to a meal.

Use: It is associated with a number of health benefits such as reducing inflammation, reducing the symptoms of asthma, and promoting healthy skin. It can be brewed into an herbal tea or added to soups. It is also a wonderful decoration for desserts because of its color and light sweet flavor.

4. Calendula

Description: They are big and bright flowers varying from yellow to a rich orange and red. Their flavor is a little more subtle, described as slightly bitter and tangy with a hint of pepper.

Use: It is often used by removing the petals and scattering them on a salad or using them as a garnish. The whole flower can be used as decoration but it is difficult to eat. One use I am looking forward to trying is as a garnish for leek and potato soup. I love leek and potato soup in the fall but it is a very bland looking dish, a few bright yellow and orange petals will add a pop of color and still fit the fall theme perfectly.

5. Carnations

Description: Carnations have a beautiful range of colors including pink, purple, yellow, white, red and flowers that combine colors. The taste of their petals is described as clove like or earthy. It is a very light flavor.

Use: Their mild flavor makes them perfect for adding color with out greatly changing the flavor of a dish. They are often mixed into spreads, used to garnish salads or soups, or added to cakes for decoration. You can also mix them into drinks like lemonade or tea for added color and fun!

6. Chamomile 

Description: Some people grow chamomile as an herb but the flowers are the best part in my opinion. They are small white daisy-like flowers (they are from the same family) with a yellow center. It has a mellow flavor often described as similar to honey and sweet apples. Chamomile is unique because it is commonly grown for eating and for cut flowers

Use: You can use it to create your own herbal teas. Chamomile tea is known to have a calming effect, settle a stomach, relieve minor pains as it can reduce swelling. The flower can also be used for decoration on cakes, salads, or in drinks.

7. Chives

Description: A beautiful bright purple puffball swaying on a thin stalk. These flowers are hard to miss in the garden and lovely. They have a mild onion-like taste and are often described as earthy. They are also a source of vitamin K and vitamin C.

Use: They can be used in addition to or in replace of chives themselves in dishes like soups, salads, sauces, egg dishes, or my personal favorite potato dishes. I always use chives in my mashed potatoes but the chive flowers in addition add a beautiful color and variety to a simple dish. 

8. Cilantro 

Description: Small white flowers that grow in clusters similar to queen anne's lace. The flavor is like cilantro but milder and with a slight acidic undertone added in. They appear, like all the other herbs, once the plant has bolted. The seed, coriander, has a light and citrus/curry flavor to it.

Use: Like the chives you can use the flowers in place of or in addition to cilantro in dishes, a really fun one is homemade salsa with cilantro flowers. You can also let the flower go to seed and if you harvest before the seed pod bursts, and dry the seed pod you have home grown coriander! Coriander is known to be great for your gut health and can help settle an upset stomach and is said to be used to help with food poisoning. 

9. Nasturtium

Description: All parts of this flowering plant are edible the flowers themselves come in a variety of colors, The taste of the flowers is milder than the stem and leaves but still has a peppery flavor like a radish. 

Use: The bright flowers can be used to naturally dye foods like turmeric but not as strong. the flowers are also a great addition to salads similar to arugula flowers they add a little kick. It can also be used in a salad dressing to give it color and a peppery flavor to offset vinegar. 

10. Pansy

Description: Last but definitely not least are pansies, these are actually the most popular and well known edible flower. They are known for their beautiful purples and when eaten raw they have a lettuce like flavor with a little spice, over all very earthy.

Use: They can be used raw as garnishes for everything from your main dish to your dessert. They can also be candied using just egg white and sugar. The candying process preserves the flower and it can remain good for a year. The candied pansies can be used on desserts or eaten by themselves. 


Bonus: Squash Blossom

Description: This flower is out of season but it gets an honorable mention here because I love them! They can be fried, dried, grilled, stuffed, and used as a garnish. They have a beautiful bright orange color and a very mild taste just like the squash that grows from them. They are incredibly versatile because of their size and taste. The entire blossom is edible with no bitter parts to avoid.

Use: The most popular use is stuffing them with ricotta cheese and pan frying them. You can also dry them for a light snack, they store well in the fridge. You can grill them as well if you don’t like fried food, grilled stuffed blossoms are just as good. The bright color makes them a wonderful garnish and I have seen them used in soups and vegetable pies for an extra flare.


 If you want to beautify your garden with organic edible flowers that promote good garden health and human health then click this link to get seeds now!




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