It was always fun to chew on columbine flowers. It didn’t occur to me that the tiny pocket of nectar that attracted me was also the thing that attracted other creatures like long-tongued bees and butterflies and perhaps hummingbirds.
These flowers are not only delicate and beautiful, but they are timely. If you wait too long after the seed pods turn from green to brown, you could stand to lose hundreds of seeds . . . if you are interested in collecting seeds. Otherwise, you can be satisfied in knowing that the plants will re-seed themselves and/or feed a number of soil-dwelling seed feeders.
I am not aware of any chef who uses them, but the delicate pinkish reddish flowers might also be used as a kind of garnish for summer cakes or salads.