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The Flowers Recipes Q&A 10 Rules Toxic Flowers Flower Arrangements

  1. Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible. Ensure that you have positively identified the plant – including the variety. The safest way is by using Botanical (ie. Latin) names. Not all flowers are edible. Some simply taste bad, some are poisonous.
  2. Make sure that it’s clear to children that some flowers are edible and others can make them sick.
  3. Birds & animals may be unharmed by plants that are harmful to humans – do not use your dog or (the actual) guinea pig to test them!
  4. Just because a flower is served with food does not mean it is edible. Never use any flower as a garnish if you are not sure if it is edible. Heating or cooking in water removes many toxins, but not all.
  5. Because a plant does not make you sick to your stomach or cause your heart to race, or cause a rash it doesn’t mean that it is safe. Some toxic reactions take time, and there are some plants that have chemicals that may be dangerous to particular people or conditions e.g. pregnant women or someone with heart or blood pressure problems.
  6. Eat only flowers that have been grown organically. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centres. Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road. They may be contaminated from car emissions or herbicide sprays
  7. Because individuals can be allergic to substances that are not generally poisonous – milk or wheat for example - introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby - one at a time in small quantities. Generally if you have hay fever or asthma or known allergies to flowers, do not eat fresh flowers.
  8. Eat only the petals from larger flowers (such as hollyhocks & hisbiscus), do remove the pistils and stamens. You can eat the whole flower, for example, of pansies, nasturtiums, or scented geraniums.
  9. Always toss salads before adding flowers because the dressing will spoil the colour and fresh appearance of the delicate petals.
  10. There are many varieties of any one flower. Flowers taste differently and have different colours when grown in different locations.

*Adapted from: Edible Flowers by Cathy Barash and the Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy

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