Some flowers can be equally appealing to one's taste as the eyes. With a wide range of flowers available for consumption, there's truly a flower for every occasion---and meal. The key to buying edible flowers rests in knowing what's safe to eat and what is not, and only buying from sources that specialize in doing so.
Buying Edible Flowers
Consider the Source
Buy edible flowers from grocery stores or other vendors who exclusively sell them packaged for this purpose. Do not eat flowers from garden centers, nurseries or florists unless they carry flowers that are identified as edible. Most flowers from these sources have been treated with some type of pesticide, making them unsafe for consumption.
Know What You're Getting
In their Consumer Guide to Purchasing, Producing, Storing and Using Edible Flowers, Penn State's Department of Horticulture stresses that it is important to know the scientific names of edible flowers before buying and consuming them. Because many flowers share the same common name, knowing the scientific name will prevent mistaking one flower for another. One source to consult is What's Cooking America's edible flower chart as it gives a scientific and common name breakdown of many edible flowers.
Consume with Caution
Slowly introduce flowers into your diet to ensure that you will not have an allergic reaction. Give the flowers a taste test to see if their taste is to your liking before liberally adding to a dish. Be sure to only consume the portion of a flower that is edible.