5 Edible Flowers with Surprising Health Benefits

Nov 25, 2019 03:11 PM EST | By Staff Reporter

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5 Edible Flowers with Surprising Health Benefits

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Flowers are typically used for ornamental purposes. We cherish their beautiful blossoms or hypnotic scents. But many flowers are also edible and offer surprising health benefits.

From salads to cakes, cookies and savory dishes, these five edible flowers can enhance your favorite dishes.

1. Lavender

A woody, floral herb best known for its calming scent, lavender grows abundantly in the Mediterranean and northern Africa.

Lavender's bright violet buds and pleasant aroma make it an excellent addition to baked gods, herbal teas, herb mixtures and dry spice rubs. The flower pairs well with both sweet and savory ingredients, including berries, sage, rosemary and chocolate.

Used for centuries for medicinal purposes, lavender, when taking orally, can help alleviate anxiety, depression, headaches, nausea and loss of appetite.

2. Hibiscus

Many people are familiar with hibiscus tea, but the large, ornate blossoms of the hibiscus plant can also be eaten. Hibiscus sabdariffa is the most popular edible variety of this plant.

Grown in tropical and subtropical climates, hibiscus flowers can grow to be as large as 6" in diameter and come in a wide variety of colors, including white, red, yellow and pink.

Although traditionally used for tea, hibiscus is also used in relishes, salads and jams. The flower is believed to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

3. Orchid

Known for their beauty, many people are unaware that orchids are edible. In fact, vanilla is the most recognized edible orchid.

In Hawaii, it's not uncommon to find violet orchid salads and candies. In Singapore, orchids are added to stir-fry dishes with vegetables and meat. Orchid bulbs are used for ice cream flavoring in Turkey and the Middle East.

Orchids are rich in fiber, which is great for digestion, as well as immune-boosting vitamin C.

4. Rose

A symbol of love, roses have an intoxicating scent and beautiful appearance. Rose water is revered for its skin-enhancing properties, but this luxurious bloom can also be used for culinary purposes.

There are more than 150 species of roses, and some varieties have different flavors. However, most have a floral and slightly sweet taste. As a general rule of thumb, flowers with a pleasant aroma have a pleasant taste.

Try adding 3 red rose petals to a salad or infuse this aromatic flower into your beverages and jams.

Roses are also believed to have health benefits. Research suggests that roses contain certain compounds that may reduce anxiety and have calming effects.

5. Nasturtium

Known for its brightly-colored blossoms and savory flavor, nasturtium is a popular edible flower. The leaves and flowers of the plant are both edible, and they can be eaten cooked or raw.

Nasturtium has a peppery, mildly spicy flavor. The bright-colored, funnel-shaped flowers are often used as garnish for pastries, cakes and salads.

These eye-catching flowers also contain a variety of minerals and antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory effects.

These are just a few of the many edible flowers you can start experimenting with. If you're new to the world of edible flowers, start small and add slowly. Some flowers, like lavender and rose, can be easily overpowering.

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