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Herbs with Edible Flowers

Borage 1

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Many herbs have edible flowers that can be used as a colorful garnish for salads and sweet and savory dishes.

Add herb flowers to delicate salads and salad herbs such as lamb’s lettuce and chervil.

Tip: toss the leaves of a salad you plan to add herbs to first then add dressing then add edible flowers just before you serve–that way the flowers will keep their fresh appearance and color.

Use a dressing that is light in vinegar or lemon juice—that is avoid acidic dressings as they will both discolor flower petals and overwhelm the flowers’ subtle flavor.

Herbs edible
Borage flowers are edible

Herb flowers for salads and garnishes

(Click on the herb name for growing and kitchen tips.)

• Anise hyssop: showy lilac flower spikes with sweet anise aroma and flavor

• Basil: flower spikes are creamy-white and purple-tinged.

• Borage: flowers are bright purple and star-shaped; use fresh or crystallized.

• Calendula: bright orange and yellow flowers with a sweet, resin-like aroma.

• Chives: flowers are light purple with delicate chive flavor.

• Coriander: white or pale pink flowers appear in early summer.

• Fennel: bright yellow flowers in umbels that last through the summer.

• Garlic chives: flowers are commonly harvested as buds on the stem for garlic flavor.

• Lavender: shades of purple flowers; also grind fresh flowers with sugar to a powder for baking.

• Mexican mint marigold: Tagetes lucida—yellow to deep orange flowers smell of anise.

• Mint: flowers are greenish or pinkish-white in clusters.

• Oregano: white flowers; the flavor of oregano varies depending on the climate and soil.

• Rosemary: flowers are seafoam blue with a strong pungent flavor.

• Sage: light purple hooded flowers make a pretty garnish; warm spicy flavor.

• Thyme: flowers are pale purple; stems are usually harvested just before flowering.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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