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There are cooking classes and recipe books dedicated to the culinary art of preparing edible flowers for the dinner table, but the most important place to start is discovering which flowers are safe to eat and how to use them.

Below is a list of flowers, their colors and a few hints about their flavor and possible uses. Use this as a jumping off point and soon you'll be diving into the creative pool of cooking with flowers.

Some caution is advised: people who are allergic to flowers in general should eschew eating the edible petals. Don't guess about other flowers; research flower cookbooks before eating something you are unsure of. Garden organically when planning to eat the fruits of your floral labor. Do not use flowers bought from a florist for consumption - they have been sprayed and sprayed with things unsafe to ingest. If you buy flowers to eat, at a farmers' market for instance, make sure they have been grown for human consumption.

- Daylily: Comes in yellow, white, orange. Use the petals of thirty flowers to sautee in their own juices. Season with a dash of salt. Daylilies have a nutty flavor.
- Pansy: Purple, pink, yellow. Toss in a green salad to delight dinner guests or paint with egg whites and gently roll in fine sugar crystals to use as edible cake decorations. Have a mild taste.
- Lemon Balm: White. Chop finely and add to muffins for its lemony essence. Use in mixed green salads. Sweet and lemony.
- Rose: white, yellow, orange, pink. Add to a cream sauce to ladle over fowl or pasta. Puree petals with sugar water and a dash of lemon and freeze for a light sorbet. Taste can be bitter, very aromatic.
- Basil: white. Season and decorate tomato soup or top garlic bread. The flower is milder in taste than basil leaves but still memorable.
- Calendula: yellow. Toss with salad greens or stir into rice dishes or soups. Steam with carrots or snow peas. Peppery.
- Gladiolus: yellow, white, pink, orange. Use as an ornamental or stuff with risotto or herbed soft cheeses. The taste is uninspiring, but the aesthetics of using glads as a container for the tasty food is worthy of applause.
- Zucchini: yellow. Stuff with vegetable pate or float down the river of a simple miso broth with scallions. Mild in flavor.
- Grape Hyacinth: purple, blue. Use in sweets to offset possible sour aftertaste. Mix in with cream cheese frosting for a special occasion cupcakes. Taste is grape-like.
- Borage: blue. Use these beautiful flowers as garnish against a background of white cream cheese or sour cream dips. They taste like cucumber.
- Lavender: purple. Add to your favorite homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. Finely chop flowers and add to softened, sweet butter to spread on scones for afternoon tea. Flavor is aromatic, floral.

A little practice is all you'll need to create new ways to use your flower garden.