If you like eating edible flowers, know that baby’s breath is not one of them. As a florist, you may even consider incorporating baby’s breath flowers in a cake but this trend is not a good one to follow. When baby’s breath flowers come in contact with buttercream or icing, it can be toxic. Wild baby’s breath also has a blood thinning effect when consumed in large amounts.
For centuries, non-toxic flower buds and petals are incorporated in tea, pie, stir fry recipes, and soups. It can also have medicinal effects, add aroma and flavor. That is not the case with baby’s breath flowers. These flowers can trigger hay fever, allergies, and asthma. Also, when eating edible flowers, opt for those that are sold as organic meaning no pesticides were used in growing the flowers. Some of the choice flowers that can be eaten include:
- Rose hips– These are known to be high in vitamin C along with marigolds and nasturtiums.
- Calendula– This has a tangy or spicy taste and so do nasturtiums.
- Pansies- These have a sweet flavor and come in multiple color variations.
- Snapdragon– These flowers are actually edible but the taste ranges from bland to bitter.
- Scented geranium– Depending on the variety, these flowers can taste sour like lemon or sweet like an apple.
- Sunflower– The unopened buds is comparable to the taste of artichoke while the petals are bittersweet.
Flowers you can’t eat
When exploring edible flowers, it is vital to do your research before consuming any type or variety. Keep in mind that not all varieties of flowers can be eaten. Many flowers are poisonous to people as well as pets. Baby’s breath flowers, for example can cause upset stomach, vomiting, and even rashes. Some people may even have to use latex gloves when they handle baby’s breath flowers. Other flowers you are best to steer clear from are:
- Calla lily
- Lily of the valley
Flower parts that are not edible
Not all parts of flowers, even edible ones should be eaten. For example, violets, clover, and honeysuckle can be eaten as a whole but roses, calendulas, and lavender only have edible petals. The petals should be plucked for use in cooking and consumption. The sepals or parts below the petals should also be removed before consumption. The white portion at the base of the petals attached to the flower should also be removed as it is bitter.
Keep in mind that the entire baby’s breath flowers are toxic to pets as well as to people. It is best when used as decorations instead of for consumption. Vomiting and diarrhea can occur when you eat baby’s breath flowers. Other poisonous flowers to watch out for include:
- Bleeding heart– The entire plant is toxic to pets and people. Like baby’s breath flowers, it can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, as well as tremors.
- Calla lily– These flowers are often incorporated in funeral flowers and should not be thought to be edible. Any part of the plant when eaten can cause vomiting, excessive drooling, and oral pain.
- Hydrangea– Another beautiful flower that is best kept in vases, pots, and flower bouquets rather than on a plate or cookware. The leaves, buds, flowers, petals, and the bark of hydrangea can cause stomach issues as well as fever when consumed.
- Iris– Like baby’s breath, it doesn’t smell good and it is also toxic to pets and people. The stem, leaves, and bulb of the iris is most poisonous and can trigger stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.
- Larkspur– The effects of eating this flower can be fatal. Eating a little can cause drooling, abdominal pain, and weakness. However, eating a lot can cause paralysis and even death.
- Lily of the valley- All parts of the plant when consumed can cause seizures. In minor cases, diarrhea and vomiting will manifest.
- Morning glory– The seeds can cause hallucinations.
If you or your pets ingest these plants and show symptoms, it is strongly suggested that you call the Poison Control Center right away and get emergency care treatment at the hospital. If you have pets at home and you love flowers, be sure to keep them away from plants as dogs and cats may decide to eat the flowers when you’re not looking.
How to pick edible flowers
Be sure never to eat flowers unless you are 100 percent certain they are safe for human consumption. In general, children should avoid eating flowers of any kind, even organic ones. Stick to fruits and vegetables for the little ones.
Now when gathering garden-grown, organic edible flowers harvest them early or late in the day to ensure the blooms are cool. The aroma and flavor of edible flowers are at their best when it is not hot. Picking them early in the day is beneficial as photosynthesis has yet converted the sugars and volatile oils into starch.
Be sure not to crush the flowers when placing them in a container. Do not include blemished flowers for consumption. Also, be sure the flowers are bug-free. You should also thoroughly wash the flowers to rid them of dirt. You will also need to remove the styles and stamens as well as the other parts aforementioned in this article before cooking or preparing the flowers to use in salads and teas.