The first time I heard someone say they grow certain flowers in their vegetable garden to eat, I gave them an extremely puzzled look. I thought to myself that these folks must be crazy! But our culture is becoming more and more educated in greener ways of living, such as homesteading, sustainable living, and edible landscaping becoming very popular. Growing edible flowers is a very practical and easy way to supplement your greens and salads, but also to greener greener methods of living.
Here are some flowers that can be easily grown in your garden that are edible and delicious.
Do not try eating a flower or plant without fully knowing whether it is edible or not. There are many plants that are highly toxic, so please make sure you know what a flower or plant is before sampling it. Some flowers may have one type of variety that is edible, while other varieties may not be. If unsure, it is best that you do NOT eat it. Do not use pesticides or other chemicals on flowers that you plan to eat. This could cause you to become ill or even be fatal.
Nasturtiums are gaining popularity as edible flowers for that great, peppery taste – somewhat like arugula. The nasturtium flowers make great additions to salads, as they not only liven up the taste but also the appearance by adding visual interest. Nasturtiums also are great companion plants, as they help ward off pests such as cucumber beetles.
Just about my whole life I always viewed dandelions as a nasty weed. After seeing them in the grocery store and then trying them out, I fell in love with their sweet honey-like flavor. Dandelions are best when picked young, and the leaves taste better than the bitter flower. The leaves can be tossed into a salad or steamed.
I think it is best to stick with the dandelions found in grocery stores, or growing certain varieties in the garden. I would not advise you to just pluck out the ones in the lawn and eat them.
Although I have never tried hibiscus flowers myself, I have been told that the flowers have a great cranberry-like flavor, but are slightly acidic. They can be used in salads or as a garnish.
Jasmine is highly fragrant and mostly used as a potpourri in rooms and to give tea a little aroma pop. Jasmine can also be used in some desserts and tarts. Use Jasmine in moderation as it can be overwhelming if too much is used.
Lemon verbena is also used in teas and used to flavor custards and pies.
Squash and Zucchini Blooms
Squash and zucchini blooms can be battered and fried for a great summer snack. They seem to taste better if the stamen is removed.
The tender leaves and flowers of violets are great in salads and used in dipping sauces. They are also useful as garnishes on desserts and for flavoring tea.
Sunflowers are best eaten in the budding stage, and tastes similar to artichokes. The budding flowers can be steamed or fried and have a bittersweet flavor.
Radish flowers come in many colors, from white, pink or yellow, depending on the variety. These flowers have a peppery, spicy taste and are great for adding to salads.
Lilac’s pungent, yet lemony taste is great for use in salads and garnishes. The wonderful fragrance will light up the garden and the home.
Calendula is also known as marigolds, and ranges from spicy to bitter, and tangy to peppery. Their tastes resembles saffron and can be used in soups, salads, or pasta dishes.
Carnations have very sweet petals that are commonly used in making wine and candy. Carnations also make a superb cake decoration. Use carnations as a great color enhancement in salads.
These are just a few of the edible flowers that can easily be grown in your garden, or implemented as part of your landscaping.