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Petal power: These flowers (and recipes) are pretty enough to eat

Edible flowers photographed in Bonny Reichert's kitchen in Toronto, Ontario, Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

If you think edible flowers are just for fussy tea parties and fancy cakes, it's time to forget the superficial Eighties and re-embrace the blossom. Whether peppery like nasturtiums, herbaceous like lavender or subtly wintergreen like pansies, the right petals can give your summer dishes a pop of flavour. If they're huge like zucchini flowers, you can stuff them, and if they're small but mighty like violets you can use them to tint summertime infusions and whimsical confections. In fact, edible flowers are so versatile and tasty, their looks seem almost beside the point. But, of course, they are gorgeous. Just don't hold that against them.

Note: Before you start eating your way through your garden or foraging in the woods, be sure to check a reliable field guide or website devoted to edible flower identification. For even more certainty, pick up a pack of greenhouse-grown edible blooms at a specialty food shop.

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