The brilliant blue flowers taste a bit like cucumber and can be used to garnish lemonade or iced tea. You can even freeze the flower in ice cubes for a surprising visual effect. Sprinkle the petals atop a fruit salad or any cold salad, including those with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, or an herb salad with chervil and tarragon. Even a gazpacho can benefit from a smattering of borage petals atop it.
If eaten fresh and whole, these have a strong onion flavor that many people may find overpowering. So it may be safer to use them as a garnish, sprinkling a few individual petals on the plate. Chive blossoms can also be used to flavor savory dishes that incorporate eggs or potatoes, as well as in pasta salads and sauces for fish. The petals can be a flavorful addition to dips and butters.
The licorice-flavored flower of the anise (fennel) plant is good in tea or as a seasoning for meat stews. It makes for a creative addition to fruit salads, or add it to sautéed greens along with tomatoes and olive oil. Anise hyssop also works well as a garnish for cold soups or hot vegetable soups, such as pea and mushroom.
These gentle-flavored flowers are quite versatile. In fact, the entire blossom can be stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs such as thyme, and then baked. Or for a sweet alternative, stuff it with ricotta and honey. Squash blossoms are a lovely addition to a cold soup made with zucchini and corn. Or you could do as the Mexicans do and include the petals in a quesadilla along with a mild cheese, onions, and garlic.
With its familiar, perfume-like flavor, lavender works well in salads and dressings or can be incorporated into baked goods such as scones. It’s an aromatic addition to goat-milk cheeses and can also can be included in recipes for savory dishes, such as those that call for chicken or other poultry.
This exotic-looking flower is peppery, so use individual petals rather than the stronger-tasting whole flower. It can be added to vegetable-centric salads or used as a garnish on beef dishes. Some chefs enjoy making a nasturtium vinaigrette— the peppery flavor melds well with the vinegar—to drizzle over fish. The blossoms also work well in omelets or pasta.
Their taste can vary from fresh and grassy to wintergreen-like. Pansies are eaten whole and can be added to cream cheese for an unusual spread or used to garnish salads. You can also add them to a cake icing or use them to decorate cookies. Pansy petals can work well in a tart or crepe recipe.