This might seem like a strange idea at first but, edible flowers have been used for centuries, both raw and cooked. Use them in your edible landscape.
Edible landscaping is a great way to use your garden for a purpose that includes both beauty and function. Edible plants can be mixed with non-edible plants and flowers to create a refreshing oasis.
They bring a great return in the form of a bountiful harvest of things that can be enjoyed – not only by sight and smell but also by taste.
But did you know there are also edible flowers that are not only beautiful but also tasty? They are packed with plant nutrients known as phytochemicals, plus a range of vitamins and minerals.
Edible flowers are a great addition to any landscape. There are many kinds to choose from, and using a wide variety will ensure that you have a number of colors and shapes in your garden. There are many things you can do with your edible flowers, and growing them is only the beginning.
Edible flowers are perfect for beginners who want to grow them for adding diversity to their recipes. When buying the seeds, always check for the Latin name to make sure you are getting an edible variety and not a potentially dangerous cousin.
Here are some edible flowers you may want to use in your landscaping, and ideas on how you can use them after they have grown.
(Chrysanthemum morifolium, or Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum)
Mums taste the way they smell, slightly spicy and pungent. Use sparingly in salads, stir-fries and rice dishes; a little usually goes a long way. Mums need lots of sunlight and do well in most soils as long as they are well-drained.
Daylily flowers taste sweet and floral. They are best harvested when the buds are just about to open and are often used in Asian cuisine, salads, and desserts. They thrive in the sun in moist soil which is well-drained.
Pinks are a summer blooming perennial with fragrant, mostly pink-colored flowers, have a delicate flavor with a touch of cloves. They are popular as an addition to hot tea and cider. The flowers are also used as an attractive garnish for creamy soups, fruit salad, and cookie platters.
Pinks need a lot of sunlight and rich soil in order to thrive. There are different species of pinks, so be sure to read the seed packet carefully for the right variety.
(Matricaria recutita, or Chamaemelum noble)
Chamomile is very similar in appearance to the daisy, with white outer leaves and yellow on the inner area. It is popular, and used as a remedy with soothing properties, both topically and internally.
Chamomile as an edible flower is used in fruit and green salad, it can be added to pasta dishes and makes a terrific herbal tea. Infuse honey, butter, or add to cream cheese spreads.
Lilacs have beautiful, small, purple flowers that grow in clusters. Lilacs can be used to flavor sorbet and can be candied as a tasty treat. There have been studies done that indicate that lilac flowers may have the medicinal effect of lowering fevers.
The easiest way to consume lilacs is to make tea using either the blossoms or the leaves. You can use both fresh blossoms and leaves. But you can also dry the petals to be able to enjoy your cup of lilac tea once its season is over.
A bold, bright flower, calendula is known for its healing abilities when used in many herbal remedies. Calendula’s beautiful mix of orange and yellow makes it great for decorating items such as cakes and cupcakes.
Add it to green salad, soups and sprinkled on grains and pasta. It can sometimes have a bitter flavor, so it is best admired as a topper rather than consuming great quantities of it. Calendula makes an effective saffron substitute.
Pansies come in a vast array of amazing, intense colors. Some have a bright yet mild flavor, and others have the somewhat intense taste of wintergreen. All parts can be eaten, and it is a beautiful addition to add fresh pansies to your finest baked goods.
Try topping edible creations such as muffins, cupcakes, and even homemade sorbet. You can even drop one mini pansy each into an empty ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze for some creative and dainty ice cubes.
Add Pansy to veggie salads and pasta, infuse honey, herb butter, and brighten cream cheese spread with these beautiful flowers.
With a delicate purple flower, chives are a beautiful addition to anything savory that needs a boost of color. The flowers of chives can be tossed into a variety of soups, or mixed into cream cheese for a beautiful and tasty spread.
Try chive flowers once, and you’ll wonder why you never used them before.
Not all flowers are edible
Try to grow your flowers organically and without pesticides. Keep them as pure as possible since you will eventually be consuming them. Choose a few edible flowers to grow today, and you will forever want to experience the joy that flowers bring to the table when you use them beyond the limits of a vase.
Growing your own edible flowers can be a wonderful way to add unusual tastes, colors, and nutrients to your diet. However, they are not for everyone. Starting slowly is the safest way to decide whether they are right for you.
Be careful as you start investigating flowers as edibles. While some flowers simply taste bad, others are poisonous. Do your research and only eat flowers if you are certain that they are edible.
Be sure that you get the species right. Some edible flowers are part of a larger family of related plants, some of which might be poisonous. When buying plants or seeds or plants you should use the exact Latin name of the species that you have researched.
Some general rules to remember:
- Eat only flowers that were specifically grown to be eaten and are free of pesticides. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers unless they are labeled to be eaten or you are certain of the botanical name.
- If you have hay fever, allergies or asthma, err on the side of caution and do not eat flowers. If you do give it a try, watch out for trouble breathing or a swollen tongue.
- Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road. They can be contaminated with pesticides or car emissions.
- In terms of preparation, in most cases, the pollen, pistils, and stamens should be removed from the flowers, to reduce allergens and improve the flavor overall. Eat only the petals.
Slowly Add Edible Flowers to Your Meals
Consuming edible flowers in very large quantities may cause gastrointestinal distress. Avoid giving edible flowers to small children, as they can be especially sensitive to these effects.
Eat small amounts first to see how well the flowers agree with you. You might like to keep a food journal to note your results.
When should you skip eating flowers?
Also keep in mind that if you have gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney disease, or allergies, then it’s best to avoid edible flowers altogether.
Talk to your doctor about how edible flowers may interfere with your existing medications.
Buy quality seeds
There are many quality seed companies. I have personally purchased seed from each of these companies and I’m sure you will love them too.
Pinetree Garden Seeds offers a $15 coupon towards seeds if you sign up for their email list. Which is a terrific deal, and since most seed packets are under $2, you will make a big dent in your seed wish list this year.
Want even more edible flowers? consider daisy, borage, nasturtium, monarda, and lavender!
I hope you’ll make room for edible flowers and herbs in your recipes and pantry. Be sure to head over to the post – Cooking and Drying Edible Flowers so you can have beautiful flowers available for pantry storage.
Laurie Harmon says
I think edible flowers in a salad make it much more pretty and makes me a bit more inspired to eat more salads.