Edible Herb Flowers and Violets
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question form: Charmaine Lynch

When I use the leaves of herbs are the flowers also edible, or does this just apply to some herbs? What about alliums such as garlic and leeks -- can I eat those flowers?

The flowers of all culinary herbs are also edible and taste like the herb they come from. Some are quite strong such as onion or garlic chive flowers, so you may not want to use the whole head but separate into florets. Edible flowers make pretty garnishes for appetizers, salads, soups and can be used to make herb butters.

As well, certain flowers such as violets are edible -- can I eat any violet flowers or just certain ones?

All members of the viola family (common or lawn violet, Johnny-Jump-Ups, pansies) are edible, both petals and leaves, roots are not. Flowers are soft and sweet tasting.

Violets flowers are used in syrups (to sweeten lemonade), jellies and teas. Freeze some in ice cubes too for drinks. Add flowers to a salad or use as a pretty garnish, especially for desserts. Leaves, especially in early spring, can be added to salads. When cooked, leaves taste like spinach. Make sure to use only untreated plants (no herbicides or pesticides). If you have allergies, avoid eating. Generally the stigma, stamens and calyx (green part under the petals, the part that attaches flowers to stem) should be removed.

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