It is important not to use flowers from plants which have been treated with pesticides. Never eat flowers bought at a flower shop. Picking is ideally made early in the morning, on a hot day, once the dew has evaporated and before the sun gets too hot, or early in the evening, just before sunset. Excessive humidity may discolor the flower and even produce loss of flavor. The sun can also dry the flowers and reduce tastiness.
Shake each flower to dislodge insects hidden in the petal folds. After having removed the stamen, wash the flowers under a fine jet of water or in a strainer placed in a large bowl of water. Drain and allow to dry on absorbent paper.
The flowers will retain their odor and color providing they dry quickly and that they are not exposed to direct sunlight.
If mulch has been used, the flowers rarely need washing.
To preserve flowers, put them on moist paper and place together in a hermetically-sealed container or in plastic wrapping.
This way, certain species can be preserved in the refrigerator for some 10 days.
If the flowers are limp, they can be revitalized by floating them on icy water for a few moments; don't leave too long or else they will lose some of their flavor.
Cut the stems before using the flower. The petals of a few flowers sometimes have a bitter taste, but this can be reduced by blanching for a second in boiling salty water. That is the case for chrysanthemums.
Like cooking herbs, these flowers must be added to the dish at the very last moment.