From Garden to Table: Can We Eat Zinnia Flowers?

Most people know zinnias for their beautiful flowers and easy-going nature. But have you ever thought about eating these flowers? Join us as we look into whether zinnia flowers are edible.

Are Zinnia Flowers Edible

Are Zinnia Flowers Edible?

Yes, zinnia flowers are edible and safe for human consumption. While you can eat multiple parts of the flower, the soft and colorful petals are used most frequently.

Research has shown that zinnias contain numerous antioxidant compounds. However, scientists need to conduct more research to determine the specific benefits of consuming zinnia flowers.

What Do Zinnia Flowers Taste Like?

An array of colorful zinnia flowers in bloom

While zinnia flowers are edible, we wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re delicious. The petals have a bitter taste that many people find off-putting.

However, some people like the dash of bitterness that zinnia flowers provide.

Ultimately, trying a zinnia is the only way to determine whether or not you like the way they taste.

How Can I Use Zinnia Flowers?

Zinnia flowers have numerous uses in the kitchen.

One way to use the bright petals is to sprinkle them on top of salads. The petals will provide a dash of color while also offering a little bitterness.

Another option is to use the petals to decorate baked goods like cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. While we recommend removing the flowers before consuming, you don’t have to worry about someone getting sick if they do eat the pretty petals.

You can also steep the petals in water to make tea. If you find the flavor of the petals off-putting, you can mix in other ingredients like mint, ginger, or orange rind.

What Is the Best Way to Store Zinnia Flowers?

A garden filled with bright, colorful zinnia flowers

If you want to use fresh zinnia petals, you should pick the flowers as if you were harvesting them for a bouquet. The best time to cut the flowers is the early morning, but the afternoon is the second-best option.

Choose flowers with blooms that have just opened. Use a pair of pruning shears or a knife to cut the stems, and then immediately place the flowers in a bucket of water.

Once you finish cutting, move the flowers into a cool, dim place. Placing your zinnias in the fridge will help them last even longer.

When you want to use a flower in an edible dish, just remove it from the water and pluck off the petals.

You can also dry zinnia petals for use in tea. First, remove the petals from the rest of the flower.

Next, place the flowers on a drying rack in a dry location with good air circulation. You can place the zinnias in a dehydrator to speed the process.

Once the petals are dehydrated, place them in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dark location.

Are Zinnias Safe for Pets?

Yes, zinnias are safe for both dogs and cats. That means you don’t have to worry about your pets getting sick if they happen to chew on or eat zinnias.

Do Deer Like Zinnias?

Deer tend to avoid zinnias. That means they’re a great option if you live in an area that is home to lots of deer.

However, since these plants aren’t toxic to deer, the mammals may dine on zinnias if they cannot find any other food. However, this is a rare occurrence.

Rabbits also tend to leave zinnia plants alone.

For more, see our in-depth guide to popular flowers that are toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets.

What Are Some Other Types of Edible Flowers?

If you want to plant other types of edible flowers, you can choose from a large variety.

Some popular edible flowers include borage, dill, viola, cilantro, calendula, and marigold. All of these flowers look and taste different, so you can mix and match until you find a combination you like.

Plus, all of these flowers are easy to grow in the home garden.

Are Zinnia Flowers Edible FAQs: 

Are Zinnia flowers edible?

Zinnia flowers are edible, although they are more commonly used as a garnish or decoration than as a main part of a dish due to their mild flavor.

Do they have any nutritional value?

While not a significant source of nutrition, Zinnia flowers are known to contain vitamin C and are also rich in minerals.

What parts of the Zinnia plant can I eat?

Typically, the petals of the Zinnia flower are the parts that are consumed. Avoid eating the seeds and the base of the flower, as they can be bitter.

How should Zinnia flowers be prepared for eating?

Zinnia petals can be rinsed and patted dry before using. They can be used fresh to garnish salads, desserts, and drinks, or can be cooked into dishes like stir-fries.

Are there any precautions I should take when eating Zinnia flowers?

As with any edible flower, ensure that the Zinnias you are consuming have not been treated with pesticides or other unsafe chemicals. Also, as with introducing any new food, it’s a good idea to try a small amount first to ensure you don’t have any allergic reactions.

What do Zinnia flowers taste like?

Zinnia flowers have a mild, somewhat spicy flavor with a hint of a zesty aftertaste.

Wrapping Up

Not only are zinnia flowers beautiful, but they’re also edible. You can use the bitter petals to add color to dishes such as salads, cakes, and dips.

For more, see our in-depth guide on how to save zinnia seeds, how to grow zinnias in pots and containers, and the 10 best companion plants for zinnias.

Contributing Editor | briana@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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