All pansies are edible. They come is so many colors and have such a cheerful look about them that they are a favorite of cooks everywhere. You can eat the whole flower. They make wonderful edible decorations on desserts, cheeses and hors d'oeuvre platters. Always select flowers that you have grown organically yourself or that are grown especially for eating. Plants from flower shops may be treated with fertilizers and/or pesticides that are poisonous.
Growing Pansies to Eat
Pansies can be grown year round in mild climates. They like a partly sunny area and soil that is kept moist. Pansies make a nice border under shrubs and trees that will protect them from hot sun. In areas with very hot summers and cold winters, pansies will grow best in spring and fall. They are biennial plants; they bloom the second year and may continue to bloom for a couple of years before they need to be replaced. Treat them the same way in your garden as any other plant you plan to eat.
Pansies have a minty flavor that makes a delicious oil for use in salad dressings or drizzled on cooked fish just before serving. To make pansy oil, put the flowers and stems of cleaned pansies in a blender to crush them and release the flavor. Add the pansies to olive oil and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavor infuse the oil. Allow the oil to warm up to room temperature before serving it.
Pansies in Salads
Pansies can be added to any green salad. They add both color and flavor. Clean the flowers the same way you wash your salad greens. Add any other salad ingredients that appeal to you or just mix pansies with lettuces. Try using pansies with cucumber slices. They will compliment rice or lentil salads and add a splash of color and flavor.
Fresh Pansies on Hors d'Oeuvres
The gardener who likes to cook will often decorate cheese trays and other hors d'oeuvre platters with edible flowers. Pansies are a favorite with cheeses. They can sit on a cracker spread with cream cheese. Pansies are often pressed into rounds of soft cheeses like feta and brie. Their bright presence and mild taste is a welcome addition to any festive table.
Candied Pansies for Desserts
Coat pansy flowers with beaten egg white and dip them in sugar. After they dry, you can use them to decorate cakes, ice cream and other desserts. The minty flavor is a nice complement to lemon, vanilla and chocolate cakes. Since the flowers are many different colors from purple, blue and red to orange and yellow, it is easy to select the one that best suits the dessert you want to garnish.