Giveaway: Cooking With Flowers + Dandelion Jam Recipe

May 8, 2013(updated on August 30, 2021)

Cooking with Flowers cover

A few years back, I was a member of a CSA share that regularly included edible flowers in with the lettuces, tomatoes, and zucchini. While I was charmed by the presence of these flowers, I was always flummoxed when it came to actually using them. If only Miche Bacher’s new book, Cooking with Flowers had been around then. I would have done so much more with those tasty blooms.

Hibiscus Popsicles

Organized by variety of flower, each section begins with details about the particular blossom being featured. Then come the recipes, which manage to straddle the line between being appealing new and still familiar enough to get the old salivary glands working (for instances, how about a scoop of Lilac Sorbet).

Dandelions

As a preserver, I’m particularly interested in the ways that flowers can enhance my preserves. I often used dried lavender buds in jams and jellies to add a floral note, but now I’m contemplating the ways that lilac, nasturtium, and rose petals could improve or add interest to my basic sweet spreads. Makes the mind boggle a little, doesn’t it?

Pansy Tea Sandwiches

Thanks to the nice folks at Quirk Books, I have two treats to share from this book today. First is a giveaway of a copy. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about a time you ate a flower. Could be at as a garnish on sculpted white rice or the time when you were six and learned that guava flowers were delicious (true story).
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday.
  3. Giveaway open to U.S. resident only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

The second treat is a recipe for Dandelion Jam. It’s a recipe that was originally intended to go in the book, but because of space constraints, was cut from the volume. However, Eric from Quirk knows I happen to have a thing for jams and so asked if I’d like to feature the recipe here. I said yes and here we are.

I’ve not made this jam, but having read the recipe, I do believe it should work. For a preserve like this one, cooking it up to 220 degrees F will improve your chances of getting a good set from it. Also, do note that while it instructs you to put the finished jam in sterilized jars and seal them, it also requires that you store them in the fridge. This is because the jam doesn’t have the proper acidity for boiling water bath canning.

dandelion jam

This photo courtesy of Quirk Books

5 from 1 vote

Dandelion Jam

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 4 cups dandelion blossoms
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1 3/4-ounce package powdered fruit pectin
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar

Instructions

  • Pour the water into a large saucepan and add dandelion blossoms. Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling for about 5 minutes, or until water turns yellow.
  • Pour the resulting tea through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing the flowers to get as much of the color and flavor through the strainer as you can. Discard blossoms.
  • Place 3 cups of the tea in a medium saucepan and add lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar and boil for 10 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
  • Pour mixture into sterilized half-pint jars and seal. Store refrigerated for up to 2 months.

Notes

Where to Find Dandelions: This extremely hardy perennial grows best in well-drained sunny spots, and foraging for it couldn’t be easier. When harvesting dandelions, make sure you choose a spot in an organic lawn that’s far from a road, parking lot, or other possible contaminants. If you really want dandelions next year, make a game of it: invite a child or a friend to pick a puffball and blow, blow, blow!
One of the best things about cooking with dandelions is that to do it, you have to spend some time gathering blossoms. You’ll know the time outdoors was well spent when the taste of spring bursts forth from your jam or muffins.
Disclosure: Quirk Books provided me with a review copy of this book, as well as a giveaway copy. No money changed hands and my opinions are entirely my own.

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331 thoughts on "Giveaway: Cooking With Flowers + Dandelion Jam Recipe"

  • A while ago, I found another book called “Cooking With Flowers” (from 1971) at a garage sale and decided to have an edible flower dinner party! Nasturtium leaves spread with a blend of red bell peppers and cream cheese was really good! (and forage-able from the neighborhood….)

  • Last year my sister-in-law and I hunted down a bunch of violets and candied them! We also picked tons of dandelions and made fritters. If I won this book I’d hand it right over to her. She taught me how to cook with flowers and she’d love this!

  • I love canning pears, and my favorite syrup is a vanilla/hibiscus syrup. The combination of the pears and the deep red syrup is delicious.

  • As a kid my mom always put dandelions in our salads, now as an adult I eat squash flowers stuffed with cheese and chive blossoms. Delicious!

  • i ate sooooo many honey suckles at my elementary school bus stop. that was my favorite thing to get yelled at for.

  • I’m not sure i’ve ever eaten a flower before? But ive jsut added dandylion jelly to my to do list…

  • I think I started with nasturtium blooms in salads, but have since candied violets (a true labor of love) and made pear lavendar jam. That’s your recipe, isn’t it?

  • I couldn’t resist! With a yard full of dandelions I had to give it a go… today!! I used 3c of sugar instead of the 5.5c called for (still plenty sweet and a good set-up – not uber-firm the way some jellies can get, but nicely spreadable) and it made 5 x 1/2 pints of the most lovely golden jelly! The smell is reminiscent of honey (no idea how that works) but the flavour is delicately lemony and that special *something* that must be coming from the dandelions. I can’t wait til tomorrow morning to have some on an english muffin!

    Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  • Starting with 8 cups of water and only using 3 cups of the tea seems like a lot gets wasted. I was only able to harvest one cup of blossoms. Wondering if I can make tea using the one cup and 2 c. of water then just make a quarter recipe?

  • I can’t say I eat flowers that often, but I did get a book when my boys were young, about the bounty of the desert. In one of the recipes was an omelet made with yucca flowers. They are so sweet.

  • I have made dandelion jelly, dandelion wine and even lilac flower wine. Dandelion jelly does indeed taste like honey. However, be sure to use only the yellow petals from the blossom when making the jelly since anything green will give the finished jelly (or wine) a bitter taste.

  • When I was little, like 5 or 6 yrs old, a friend dared me to eat a dandelion….needless to say I tried it and didn’t like it… 🙁 Now we use dandelion greens in our salads. Count me in for the giveaway.

  • I honestly haven’t ate many flowers themselves but sucked the nectar out of those sweet smelling honeysuckles as a child. They were every where as I walked my way to school!

  • I like adding the purple flowers from chives on my spring salads. They taste like onions. 🙂

  • Clover. Everybody in my parents’ neighborhood who had kids and therefore didn’t waste time/money putting herbicides/fertilizer on their abused yards had white and red clover in their lawns, and we’d pull the little tube-petals off and suck on the bases – it was quite sweet. We (the girls, anyway) also made clover-chain garlands of them. Ah, summer.

  • Love using flowers in food! Blooms from herbs in salads, decorative flowers on baked goods, lavender and hibiscus in the myriad ways they are able to be used. But I also love eating pineapple sage blossoms right off the plant!

  • as a child i sucked the nectar from honeysuckles. my brother told me that the flower that proved that you liked butter if held under the chin (dandylions?)also tasted that way. we were poor and didn’t get butter often, so i ate one. wasn’t true, and i couldn’t wait to pull that one on my younger brother (pecking order lol). but! since i have been an adult i’ve eaten many a bloom on rice, salads, etc.

  • I like using nasturtiums in salads 🙂 I discovered Roslind Creasy’s Edible Flowers book several years ago & was hooked!

  • Years ago, I made an oatmeal spice cake for my mom for Mother’s Day and my sister and I decorated it with purple violet flowers, probably the loveliest cake I’ve ever eaten. This book sounds fascinating; it would have never occurred to me that you could make dandelion jam.

  • oh my WORD – I wonder what dandelion jam tastes like??!

    I’ve batter-dipped dandelion flowers and fried them. They tasted like fried food – great!

  • To be honest I have never, that I remember anyway, eaten a flower. Ironic, since I happen to be a firm believer and advocate of the power of plant and flower healing. I guess now is a good time to start. 😉

  • My only real exposure to edible flowers is in lavender honey lemonade. I’d love to try out that dandelion jam though! My campus is covered in dandelions right now.

  • Our local Indian restaurant put flowers on certain dishes and I always love to savour them.

  • Nasturtium blooms on salads is something I’ve enjoyed. I especially like stuffed squash blossoms though that seems closer to eating a food item.

  • Lavender in a chicken pate. Delicious.

    Also, while it’s not quite eating, jasmine tea is always my favorite

  • I have no idea what kind of flowers they were, but there were these hedges my mother had grown along our garage/port and I used to like plucking some of the flowers and pulling the ends out, which would have a little droplet of nectar on the end. When I was a kid I thought it was honey left there by bees 😛

  • When I was a kid the neighbor had a nice honeysuckle bush we used to eat the juice from it but not the whole flower

  • I ‘ve had rose petal jam, I hope that counts! It’s wonderful. I would like to learn how to use beautiful flowers in cooking!
    Thank you!

  • When I was young, in Romania, my mom used to make rose petal jam. It was a certain rose that grew near our yard, she would cut the petals and rub them with lemon before cooking with sugar. It had a chewy crunchy texture. I would eat it by the spoonful.

  • When I was growing up in Southern California, I would eat some very small orange/red berries that were on my neighbors tall shrub with tiny leaves. I do not know the name of this bush/berry but many people told me they were poisionous when I grew up.The flowers on the groundcover were in clusters and you could pick 10 at a time and if you sucked the bottom of them, you would get quite a bit of a sweet nectar similar to honey. Don’t know what those were either.

  • I’m a lavender junkie. My friends would say the best thing I ever baked was a peach lavender galette. It was my first time cooking with a flower and it was delicious.

  • I made a cupcake recipe recently that called for dried rose petals, which I had in my pantry from last summer. I picked them from the wild roses growing near my house and dehydrated them not knowing exactly what I would do with them, but they sure made my house smell heavenly in the process!

  • One of my favorite herb books, Living with Herbs by Jo Ann Gardener, 1997 has a recipe for Wilted Dandelion Salad that’s the best spring tonic.

  • I found a recipe for rose petal ice cream, and tried it. As I cooked the ice cream base it actually smelled delicious! The ice cream didn’t end up setting properly…. I haven’t thought about it in years. I’ll have to give it another try!

  • I have had dandelion wine. It was delicious. I also have a friend who always puts flower petals on her special cakes. I have also had nasturtium petals in a salad, adds a nice little bite.
    I would love to have the book on how to use more flowers in more things.

  • I remember being very, very young and eating flowers with a bunch of other kids at the park. I have no idea what they were, but that’s a memory I haven’t thought about in years!

  • As kids we used to eat the bottoms of these yellow flowers that grow like crazy here in Arizona. The bottom portion had nectar. Fast forward to a few years ago when my daughter was working for the forest service, one of their duties was to pull out one particular non-native invasive plant-my precious yellow flowers from my childhood!! They’re called the Dalmation Toadflax. Anyway, I’ve got zucchini sprouts coming up and this time, I will try the stuffed squash blossoms!

  • Squash Blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and mint, chive flowers in salads and as garnishes on deviled eggs..violets as cake decorations

  • I have made rose water a few times and put it in jam with raspberries. Yum. Want to try stuff with lilacs, maybe the ones in the yard are not too far gone.

  • I remember sucking the sweetness out of honeysuckle as a kid. Gathered violets from the lawn and tossed them with a salad or as decor on top of a cupcake.

  • I used to eat nasturiums by the handfuls as a girl from my mom’s porch. I still love them.

  • My teenage years were spent trying to impress one boy or another… I drove 30 miles to purchase edible flowers to top a cupcake I made. I imagine in my brain it seemed so romantic (and it is now that I think about it, but perhaps not for a 16 yr old boy?) Once presented, said boy quickly flicked flowers off the cupcake and stuffed the entire dessert in his mouth. Ah yes, silly teenage love.

    (I thoroughly savored every bite..flowers included)

  • I LOVE stuffed squash blossoms. And when the daylilies in my front yard are ready, they get the same treatment or are fried up into crisp starbursts. I also cultivate a nasturtium patch every year–those flowers are excellent on salads and sandwiches. Flowers have such beautiful and subtle flavors. I love cooking with them!

  • Someone gave me a nasturtium out of the garden to eat. It was so beautiful and peppery. Since then I have been hooked on using flowers in cooking. I am having a baby and decided I needed an almost there-but the room is already- still waiting baby project. I made violet jam but no baby yet. I am excited to move onto dandelion jam!

  • I cannot wait to try the Dandelion Jam! I’ve been looking for more ways to incorporate my “lawn” foods into my diet! Thanks for posting such great stuff!
    Annie

  • I’ve eaten violets on petite cupcakes before. I am so curious about this dandelion jam! Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  • I think I was in a restaurant where there was a pansy as a garnish. I ate it but wasn’t impressed. I was young, what did I know about flavor?

  • Lavender is my favorite flower food. Lavender ice cream, blackberry lavender jam, lavender in herbes de provence….

  • I’ve eaten nasturtium flowers in salads and as a child, used to eat rose petals and suck the nectar out of bluebell flowers. Haven’t eaten a flower in ages now – maybe it’s time to revisit them as a food source. 🙂

  • I just finished a batch of dandelion jelly. Violet jelly last week….but this is as far as I have gone with flowers. Would love to do more!

  • i picked an ate a wild violet in my new backyard — a lovely surprise. next i need to put some in a salad.

  • Hmm..the time I ate a flower was when I was around five, my old brother convinced me that buttercup flowers tasted like butter and turn your face yellow. Needless to say, it does not! I have tried lavender and love lavender ice cream and jam!

  • I’m not sure if I ever ate a flower, but does chewing on bits of grass when I was bored playing little league baseball count? There may be photographic evidence of this, I’m not sure 😉
    Anyway, the bits of grass were not something I would recommend, so trying actual flowers with recipes would be cool!

  • While I was in college, we would get really excited about the spring greens mix at the farmer’s market that had little purple flowers in it.

  • I have never done any canning with flowers so this would be a great intro to the use of them

  • I remember eating dandelions during seventh grade science class. Mrs. Koch took us outside to pick the dandelions and taught us about other plants that were edible. I remember being one of the few students who enjoyed the experience (probably my mother’s influence). Now I let wildflowers grow on my property and am starting to use them as edibles. The book will be amazing help.

  • I had rose ice cream at an Afghan restaurant. Pure heaven! Since then I play with rose water and orange blossom water.

  • That jam sounds really interesting. I have had dandelion greens from my csa box, but I don’t think I have ever tried the flowers!

  • The wonderful Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville, WA offers garden tours before their spectacular meals. The tour guide offers tastes of various edible flowers that will be featured in your meal. It was an incredible experience for me! I’ve had a poster of “Edible Flowers” up in my apartment for years, but not actually eaten many flowers. That little tour really excited my palate and helped me experience the wide range of flavors available in flowers.

  • I’m so intrigued by this cookbook… and I’m definitely trying out that dandelion jam recipe!

    The only time that I recall eating a flower is when I would quite young. My siblings and I would always hunt for honeysuckles and eat the sweet part!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • I would love to learn to cook with flowers! I have a yard with many violets. It would be fun to harvest them to eat and decorate food.

  • Dandelion jam! What a great idea! I’d love a copy of the book, of course, but the jam recipe MADE my day! Thanks!

  • We ate honeysuckle flowers as kids too. I can still remember the taste 50 years later.

  • I remember the first time I ate a flower. We were at a farmers market in New Mexico (I want to say Taos, but not sure) and someone was selling salad greens with nasturtium blossoms mixed in. I was so excited about how cool that was (even thought I was 14 and probably is my best not to show it)! It blew my mind a little and opened me up to a world of culinary possibilities.

  • I love cooking/baking with flowers! One of my favorite things to make is a calendula pound cake–it looks like a summer afternoon with all the orange flecks in it.

  • We do a lot of nasturtiums and artichokes here (you all knew artichokes were flowers, right?), onion flowers, sometimes garlic flowers (we usually snip them off just as they bud though), and the occasional viola. One of the most entertaining things we’ve done with herb flowers was putting some rosemary flowers and pink peppercorns in a small bottle of vodka. We let it sit a couple of weeks before using it – mostly over ice, but I imagine it could be mixed into all sorts of things.

  • Yum! I was just thinking about making dandelion jam. I made beer-tempura fried dandelion flowers last week–they were a little sweet and crunchy and delicious!

  • The first time I ever realized that flowers could be incorporated into dishes and not just used as a nice garnish was in 2006 at Sooke Harbour House. We toured the gardens on the property and did a wine tasting as part of The Next Great Chef (a culinary competition which I participated in). They only use ingredients which can be sourced within 100 miles and therefore only purchase produce which can grow on Vancouver Island. Because they are not able to grow lemons on the island the chef at Sooke substitutes begonia petals in recipes calling for lemon. I have grown begonias in my garden ever since! Delicious!

  • As a child I was at my friends house when her mother pulled a pan of roses out of the oven. My eyes had to focus to see that this crazy lady ( or so i thought ) was going to eat flowers !!! Well …. my friend ate some and I wanted to be like her and did so also and guess what they were wonderful. Not sure how they were made but do know she had dipped them in egg whites.

  • When I was very young, we neighborhood kids would run down the sidewalk by some bushes and stop and dare each other to eat the leaves. I don’t know what the plant was, but it was pretty rebel of me to eat them! And they must have been edible ’cause I’m still here!

  • As a child I loved the smell of nasturtium leaves as well as the flowers, &, when I learned they are safe for people to eat, I tried some & loved their peppery flavour. Still do!

  • I love eating flowers! Drinking them too. My favorite is lavender lemonade. Yummy and refreshing! I did make something once that gave me pause though. I added some dried lavender buds to a pound cake batter and then baked it. I anticipated a buttery -floral tasting cake. The taste was indeed lovely, but the appearance left something to be desired. It looked like it was full of mouse droppings! Note to self: next time grind the buds first. Lol!

  • My husband and I had flowers on a cruise at dinner. I thought it was delightful, my husband was not impressed

  • I’ve made kudzu blossom jelly, it tastes like a mix of grape and blueberry and I love to use lavender in recipes especially brown butter short bread or on goat cheese with honey.

  • I remember picking pansies with my mother when I was a little girl and then having tea parties where they were on the cookies. i feed my kids flowers as well….it is agreat memory maker

  • I used to eat sugared violets as a kid. Recently I reconnected with those childhood roots and made violet syrup, candied violets and violet jelly. Didn’t even know this book existed! Would love to create new edible floral treats. Thanks!

  • I love to put nasturtium in salads. Lately I have been making Italian cream soda’s with rose syrup. Yum!

  • Oh this book looks lovely. Nothing better for light reading in the evening than a good cookbook. I have started nasturtiom seeds in many colors for a beautiful yard but also to surprise my husband in his salad! Rose flavored Turkish delights and lavender sugar cookies are my edible flower trys so far. Both delicious.

  • At recess, my friends and I would play “survival” which included eating these tiny yellow flowers no bigger than a sunflower seed. I remember thinking they were rather tasty. Who knows if they were actually edible!
    Thanks for the post about using flowers in cooking. It has me inspired!

  • Growing up in the UK we went to Greece on holiday and the good thing about the trips was the food – we rarely stuck with ‘tourist’ fare and went with the locals. I remember having stuffed zucchini blossoms and loving them. I was amazed you could cook flowers!

  • When I was in 5th grade we had a Pioneer week at my school with different activities themed around the new settlers. We ended up making dandelion muffins and they were delicious!

  • I don’t know when the first time I ate a flower that wasn’t part of a dare. But yesterday I spotted the most amazing lilac bush in a friend’s back yard. Down a slope. Covered with blackberry brambles. 15 minutes, a broom handle, and five snips later, I have a handful of the most luscious lilacs I’ve ever seen. The smell made me realize why so many people buy crappy lilac air freshener. I wanted to have that smell infused into a home. Then? I took a bite.

  • When I was a newly wed my husband and I lived with my brother for a few months. One day my sister-in-law made a salad garnished with nasturtiums. It seemed so peculiar to me that flowers could be eaten. But it was delicious and slightly peppery and I’ve been obsessed with edible flowers since! In fact my 3 year old helped me plant some calendula seeds today, and by the end of the month we will be planting nasturtiums ourselves. Not enough dandelions in the yard this year to make ice pops with like we did last year.

  • How wonderful! Just what I’ve been looking for. I baked a Kentucky Derby Hat cake last week for a Derby party and I wished I knew what real flowers to use for decoration.
    I knew pansies were edible because I had them on a cupcake at a fancy hotel dinner. They were beautiful! I had to use fake flowers on the Derby Hat cake this year but next year, I’II be better prepared.

  • When I was a kid, my grandmother told me that you could eat nasturtiums. I was so excited to eat a flower that she started growing them in her yard. When I would come over after school she would make me a snack and there would always be a nasturtium flower or two. Lovely!

  • I am lucky to have a fabulous farmer’s market walking distance from my home. My favorite goat cheese purveyour uses organic flowers in and on her delicious herb cheeses – swoon!

  • Wow this book looks amazing and I think it would be so much fun with my daughters. Currently our garden has an abundance of squash flowers in it so I’m getting ready to try some recipes with those for the first time. However, I have never tried edible flowers before so this is a whole new culinary world for our house.

  • I tasted a wonderful dish in Italy made with sauteed zucchini blossoms. Have been using them ever since. A great way to avoid the “can’t even give them away” zucchini overload in late summer.

  • My first flower was a pansy as a young kid. My Mom taught me the love of gardening and growing plants and flowers that are edible.

  • I have heard about these types of flowers, but I have never tried them before, not even one of them. I guess it’s time for me to try one.

  • I spent a week working with a crew of 60 on a beautiful homestead in Tennesee. I was on garden crew and on the third day, we made individual salads for lunch for everyone there – complete with pansies! I had no idea.