These beautiful blue, star-shaped flowers from the borage plant taste a bit like cucumber, which is why they’ve been used in salads like this one since The Elizabethan Age. They are also delicious in lemonade and refreshing cocktails like Pimm’s Cup and gin and tonic.
Both tart and sweet, hibiscus petals have a cranberry-like flavor that makes them perfect for teas and cocktails. Drop fresh hibiscus buds into glasses of bubbly and let your guests watch them bloom before their eyes.
Sweet and slightly perfumed-tasting, lavender works well when the buds are sprinkled in champagne and cocktails and over desserts like chocolate cake. Or try it in a lavender peach crisp served with vanilla ice cream.
Pansies have a slightly grassy—even minty—flavor, so they work well in herb-flavored summer cocktails and fruit salads. For a quick, easy, and festive summer hors d’oeuvre, spread some cream cheese on a small round cracker and top it with a whole pansy.
While roses have a strong floral scent, their flavor is quite subtle and fruity. Roses lend themselves well to everything from soups and salads to teas, jams, and desserts like this delicious strawberry, pomegranate, and rose petal treat.
With their soft, yet sweet-savory flavor and beautiful color, sage flowers add dimension to a variety of dishes. For summer, pair them with lemon and other garden treats in a popsicle for a surprisingly refreshing treat.
Violets, which come in a range of pastel and vibrant colors, have a sweet and floral taste, making them a perfect companion for everything from salads to iced drinks. They are particularly beautiful when crystallized and used to top frosted cakes and other desserts.
HOW TO FLOWER PICK: Be sure to avoid using flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. Always purchase your edible flowers from the produce section of your grocery store.
HOW TO FLOWER PREPP: When cooking with or serving edible flowers, clean them by washing them gently in a large bowl of cold water and letting them air dry on a paper towel. Use them immediately or store them in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container lined with a damp paper towel.