Welcome spring with an edible floral fête

Miranda Priestly said it best, florals for spring are far from groundbreaking. This season, play with fresh flowers somewhere unexpected: your menu. From noteworthy new restaurants to thoughtful party planners, tastemakers are reimagining flowers in new (but ancient) ways. And surprisingly, it’s unexpectedly easy to do at home. Add edible flowers to your go-to recipes or store-bought desserts for an instant upgrade at your next party.

 

Where to buy edible flowers

There are three ways to source edible flowers: grow them yourself, find them at your farmers market, or order from a specialty site. If you have a green thumb, try the edible seed kit from Floral Society. Alternately, Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, Chef’s Garden or Marx Foods will ship fresh flowers directly to you.

 

List of edible flowers

Edible flower glossary - Paperless Post

In addition to color, consider the scent and flavor of flowers when shopping for edible flowers or deciding which to use to garnish a dish.

Calendula (top row, left): Take apart the large orange petals and toss in salads or on fresh cheese for a touch of tartness.

Marigold (top row, second two flowers): With a faint citrus flavor they’re available in yellow, orange, and a variety of sizes. Break blooms apart and then toss the petals in a salad.

Dill (top row, second from right):  It has a sour taste like the herb⁠—with notes of parsley and mild anise. The blossoms clusters add a crunchy texture to salads or fish.

Bachelor’s Button (top right): With their papery petals these flowers resemble a miniature carnation. They have a mild spicy sweet flavor.

Thyme flowers (center row, left): Tiny thyme blossoms lend an herbal lemon note to savory dishes.

Nasturtium (center row, second from left ): Its fiery flowers and peppery flavor lends it to crostini or salad.

Pansies and violas (center row, second from right): Use these as a garnish on cakes, cupcakes, or Champagne.

Flowering rosemary (center row, right): The evergreen shrub has tiny aromatic white, pink, or blue flowers. Use the flowers along with the leaves in savory dishes.

Garden peas (bottom row, left): Purple and white pea flowers taste just like fresh spring peas. Look for podded or snow peas rather than sweet peas.

Hibiscus (bottom row, second from left): The delicate yellow and orange petals look similar to poppy flowers and lend a mild tartness to desserts or cocktails as a garnish.

Basil flowers (bottom row, center): The tiny white or purple flowers can be pinched off the stem and used in salads for their mild basil flavor.

Dianthus (bottom row, two flowers on right): Otherwise known as pinks, the ruffled petals impart a spicy, clove flavor.

 

Edible Flower cocktails

Edible flower cocktail from Paperless Post

Pansy flowers floating in couples of sparkling rosé

 

Whether it’s petals, a sprig, or a single perfect bloom, floral garnishes make a glass of bubbly even more celebratory. Taste should be your priority, so stick with petals or small flowers like borage or pansies. Here we float viola blossoms in a Champagne coupe.

Edible flower ice cubes

Adding colorful flowers to ice cubes is an impressive party idea you can do in advance. First, fill an ice cube tray about a quarter to a half of the way up with water, then add blooms face-down to each cube and freeze. Finally, fill the remainder with water and freeze again. For especially clear ice, use distilled water. This technique works with herbs, citrus, and berries as well.

 

Edible flower recipes (that aren’t)

Flowers with savory and sour notes inject color and texture to appetizers and salads without turning on the oven. Mix feathery or sprouting flowers like flowering dill or chive blossoms into salad greens. Alternately pair pea flowers or violas with arugula. Either way, add salad dressing at the table to keep delicate petals looking fresh.

For a stunning cheese board, press small, pliable flowers like nasturtium into goat cheese rounds. Or use flowering herbs with long linear stems like flowering basil or thyme blossoms to create movement on a crudité platter.

 

Edible floral cakes

Edible flower cake - Paperless Post

A shower of bachelor’s buttons and dianthus flowers top a buttercream cake

 

A few well-placed flowers can turn an everyday dessert recipe into a stunner for a special occasion. Pair oversized squash blossoms with an olive oil cake, vanilla with rose petals, or a lemon with violets. Similarly, create a floral funfetti with tiny petal sprinkles using a mix of petals for a birthday celebration.

 

Flower invitations

Paperless Post Flyer

 

Pair your petal party with a floral invitation that suits your style. Putnam & Putnam have a Dutch still life photography style while Liberty has preppy prints. Fall in love with Nathalie Lété’s painterly style or send a Flyer for laid back brunches or spring picnics.

 

 

For more floral inspiration: Putnam & Putnam share their trick for creating simple floral arrangements at home. In addition, our designers share their process for the pressed flowers behind invitations like Vincennes and Cordès.