Edible flowers add delight and distinctly delicious flavours to food and drinks. Fluttered as a garnish or tossed in salads they are fresh and fun, but they can also be incorporated into a number of staples that allow their usage beyond blooming season.

Employ spicier petals, like garlic, rosemary, nasturtium or chive flowersfor savoury dishes; use sweeter blooms, like rose, violet, or lemon verbena petals for cocktails and desserts.

It’s not uncommon to see flower petals used in salads, teas, and as garnish for desserts, but they inspire creative uses as well:

1. Flower Sugar

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup chopped flower petals

Stir flowers into sugar and let sit for a week. The sugar will absorb the moisture and flavour and the petals remain to add colour and texture. Especially nice to finish off baked goods and to rim cocktail glasses.

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2. Flower Syrup

1 cup water
3 cups sugar
1 cup flowers

Boil ingredients for 10 minutes, strain, and store refrigerated 2 weeks. Wonderful in cocktails and other drinks, and great for topping pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and other sweet dishes.

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3. Flower Honey

1 cup flower petals
1 pound honey

Use lavender or rosemary blossoms for a stronger honey, or rose petals or other more floral blooms for a more fragrant flavour. Add the flower petals to a reusable tea bag or make a bundle in cheesecloth and add to honey. Leave in a bright, sunny place for a week, check flavour. Leave longer for a more pronounced flavour. When ready, remove the petal bag and use.

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4. Flower Tea and Fruit Leather

If you have roses, you can dry the hips to use for rose hip tea and even fruit leather!

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5. Flower Butter

½ cup flower petals
½ pound sweet butter

Stir petals into softened butter with a fork and form into a log, wrap well. Chill and slice off sections to top warm dishes or use in recipes. Herb flowers (chive, garlic, rosemary, etc) are great on grilled vegetables or pasta, perfumed flowers (rose, violet, lavender, etc) are great on pancakes or sweet dishes. Keeps refrigerated for two weeks or frozen up to six weeks.

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6. Flower Vinegar

2 cups white wine vinegar
½ cup flower petals

Add flowers to vinegar and store in dark, cool place for a week. Strain flowers and use vinegar in dressings and other recipes calling for vinegar.

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7. Flower Vodka

2 cups vodka
½ cup flower petals

Make your own flower infused vodka by simply adding flowers to vodka and allowing to sit for 48 hours, then strain. Rose or lavender petal vodka cocktails, served in glasses rimmed with flower sugar, are sure to keep summer alive even as the season begins to fade away.

How do you use edible flowers in your kitchen?