by Bridget O’Donnell

While April showers do bring some edible flowers, foraging takes a little research. Many plants have medicinal properties if prepared correctly but it’s important to verify what parts of the plant can be eaten or served.

Be aware that SOME PARTS OF PLANTS ARE POISONOUS if they’re eaten OR touched.

If that didn’t totally deter you but you haven’t curated a private garden of Edible Plants yet, choose where to source them carefully. The florist probably isn’t the best place to do your grocery shopping. To keep flowers looking beautiful indoors chemicals are often used to maintain their shelf-life, literally. The vast sea of clover or dandelion you rode past on you last bike ride may be equally disconcerting. The flowers you see along the side of the road may be exposed to car exhaust, high volumes of pedestrian traffic and yes, some of those greens wear byproducts from [wo]man’s best friend. Woof!

If you’re not quite ready to experiment with Cooking (Flowers), you might want to try using an alternate Flour. To lightly dust the surface, flour can be made from teff, buckwheat, sorghum, whole and ancient grains. Other naturally gluten-free, non-wheat ingredients including nuts like coconut and almonds, legumes, and seeds can be milled into flour, too. Blend flours to create a unique flavor profile but, pay attention to the idiosyncratic characteristics of each one used. No two flours have the same behavior and texture.

Title of Cookbook: Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers.

Author of Cookbook: Miche Bacher.

What prompted you to check out this cookbook? Tammy, one of my coworkers at the library, is an adventurous baker who saw a recipe online for “Honey Dandelion Shortbread Cookies.” She took the initiative and went dandelion picking then prepared and baked the dainty petals into a pretty little dessert which she graciously shared with me. Here I was familiar with the health benefits associated with eating the tender greens raw or, boiling and sautéing more mature leaves. I also periodically hear tea made from dried dandelion leaves and, dandelion wine have medicinal properties but I knew nothing beyond that.

Note: If you have allergies to the pollen of a particular flower, avoid consuming them in liquid or baked goods.

What did you like about this cookbook? Everything in this cookbook looks delicious. The desserts photographed are beautiful and full of color. To satiate my curiosity there are a number of recipes for each flower, including dandelion cookies, though a slightly different variation than my coworker’s. “The Basics” section located in the back of the book is simple and appears manageable which is encouraging.

What didn’t you like about this cookbook/website? If cooking with flowers is something that interests you, there’s little to dislike.

  • Because I don’t bake dessert often I don’t own a lot of baking equipment, utensils or pans which may or may not influence the prep and cook time.
  • Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a longer “Resource” section. However, this cookbook was published in 2013. Since that time new businesses have opened and some no longer exist or carry the same merchandise to no fault of the author.

Favorite recipes (that you tried from the cookbook/website): [My coworker’s Honey] Dandelion [Shortbread] Cookies. Whether or not they were medicinal, I’m going to consider them healthy.

Did you alter the recipe or make any substitutions?  I didn’t make them so I didn’t alter this recipe.

Would you recommend this cookbook/recipe? Yes, over Juliet Sear’s Botanical Baking, a lovely publication from the U.K. Although both authors write authoritative, it might be easier to source ingredients regionally from a book published right in the U.S.


Books –

Botanical Baking: Contemporary Baking and Cake Decorating with Edible Flowers and Herbs / Juliet Sear.

Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker / Rachel Conners with Mary Goodbody. (Primary focus:  gluten-free and dietary restrictions. Edible flowers are shown in photos on pages 51 and 132.)

Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers / by Miche Bacher ; photography by Miana Jun.

Edible Plants: A Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of North America / Jimmy W. Fike.  (Informative book with amazing pictures. Photographs are a negative of the flattened plant with the edible parts shown in color. This is not a cookbook.)

Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours / Alice Medrich with Maya Klein.    

The Homemade Flour Cookbook: the Home Cook’s Guide to Milling Nutritious Flours and Creating Delicious Recipes with Every Grain, Legume, Nut, and Seed from A-Z / Erin Alderson, creator and founder of the blog Naturally Ella.

Websites –

Cherry Valley Organics – retailer for organic products including edible flowers.

Freshly Preserved – retailer for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables including edible flowers.

Honey Dandelion Shortbread Cookies / Amy Bartlett (Savory Moments).

Some people may remember homophones from their English grammar. There are about seven sprinkled into this post. A few examples not found in this post include: hoarse (throat, voice) – horse (riding), soul (you have a beautiful) – sole (owner, fish, shoes), sun – son, War (make love not…) – wore (clothes).

Quick Subject links to the Library catalog:

Cooking (Flowers)

Cooking (Wild foods) – foraging

Flower gardening.

Flour. (Results from a key word search can be Refined. Under Found In, check the box next to “Title,” “Subject,” or “Author.”)

Gluten-free diet — Recipes.

Plants, Edible.

Wild plants, Edible.

Flowers. (Vega, New Catalog)

Food allergy — Diet therapy — Recipes. (Vega, New Catalog)