Edible Flowers of Summer

If you enjoyed the post Edible Flowers of Spring, then you’ll love learning about all the wonderful edible flowers of summer and how to use them in your kitchen.  Elegant day lilies, sunny squash blossoms, and graceful gladiolas take center stage in summer.  You can add crunchy texture, interesting vegetable flavors, and a rainbow of color to your meals.  Wow your friends with outstanding presentations and bold new taste combinations.  Here are just a few of the many edible flowers of summer that you should try.  For information on more flowers visit BouquetBanquet where you can also find additional recipes to try out in your kitchen.

Anise Hyssop  Agstache foeniculum

Leaves and tiny petals have a flavor between anise and root beer that is pleasant used sparingly in both sweet and savory dishes.  We use it in ice cream, beef stir fry, chicken marinade, salad dressing, and pound cake.

Clover  Trifolium pratense

Clovers, particularly red clover, have a sweet, anise-like taste and are wonderful sprinkled on desserts, tossed in fruit or green salads, or used in teas.

Calendula  Calendula officinalis

These petals have a slightly bitter taste and are used primarily for color.  We remove the petals from the flower head and toss them in rice pilafs, on top of soups, or in omelets.

Day Lilies  Hemerocallis fulva

The buds and flowers of day lilies vary in taste from sweetly floral to beany, depending on variety.  Make them into a salad, stuff them with soft cheeses or ice cream, add them to casseroles, or chop them for salads.  CAUTION:  Only day lilies are edible.

Gladiolus  Gladiolus spp.

We like their mild, lettuce-like taste and texture and use them as a salad base, or stuff them with soft cheeses or sorbet.  They make a delightful presentation.

Hibiscus (red roselle) Hibiscus rosasinensis

The cranberry-lemon taste of the calyxes make a unique and tasty sauce or jelly, while the flowers can be used fresh or dried to make a kind of red lemonade.  Steep the flowers in hot water with mint and some ginger to make a wonderful hot tea, or chop the petals and decorate frozen desserts with them.

Lavender  Lavandula angustifolia

A strong lemony perfume taste comes from both the petals and leaves – it doesn’t take many to get the flavor.  We like to steep them for jelly, ice cream, and crème brulee.  Lavender works well in sweet and savory dishes from cookies to grilled meats.

Nasturtiums  Tropaeolum majus

This flower is stunningly pretty, varied in color, and has a great, peppery taste found in both the leaves and flowers.  We use nasturtiums in butters and soft cheeses, oils and vinegars, sandwiches and salads.  We stuff whole flowers and serve them on toast pieces, and you can even pickle the immature seed pods to use as you would capers.

Okra flowers  Abelmoschus aesculentus

The flowers of this plant are beautiful and look like small hibiscus flowers.  They have a somewhat indescribable “vegetable” taste.  We use them in salads and in tossed into vegetable stir fries.

Runner Beans  Phaseolus coccineus

These flowers have a sweet bean/pea taste and a crunchy texture.  We like them atop soups, in sandwiches and tossed in green salads.

Squash Blossoms  Cucurbita spp.

The slightly sweet nectar taste of these flowers tastes wonderful stuffed with soft cheeses.  We also keep the stems on them, dip them in tempura and fry them.  They are good sliced and used in cream soups, soufflés, or omelets, and we like to sprinkle them – chopped- on pasta dishes.

Sunflower Helianthus annuus

Young flower buds can be steamed and served like globe artichokes. The leaf petioles can be boiled and mixed in with other vegetables. Flower petals can be used to make tea.

Herb Flowers

The flowers of all edible herbs are also edible.  We use the savory ones with savory dishes, the mints in Thai cooking or on fruit salads, and the sweet ones on desserts.  Chocolate mint is particularly delicious served with watermelon.

Day Lily Blue Cheese Salad Recipe

  • Whole day lilies with stems and stamens removed (3 lilies per serving)
  • Blue cheese, crumbled
  • Garden fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • Flower vinaigrette

On each individual serving plate, place three day lilies and gently spread out their petals so that they remain whole yet overlap each other.  Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese and matchstick carrots over the day lilies.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes.  Serve with your favorite flower vinaigrette.

Edible Flower Appetizers

  • Softened cream cheese
  • Crusty bread sliced thin, toasted rustic bread, or crackers
  • Flower petals, chopped fine (possibilities include runner beans, herb flowers and herbs, calendulas, roses, nasturtiums, violets, and many others)
  • Whole edible flowers

Blend the flower petals and any herbs into the cream cheese.  Put in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to meld.  Serve on bread or toasties and top with whole edible flowers.

Mother Earth Gardener
Mother Earth Gardener
Expert advice on all aspects of growing.