Growing Flowers that are Beautiful, As Well
Edible flowers aren't a new phenomenon, but
garnishes of fresh flowers tend to intimidate diners. No one is
really sure if the flowers are there for decoration or to be
eaten. Even if they are to be eaten, diners often wonder if they
will taste good, or like parsley, be better left on the plate.
There are several flowers blossoms that can be
enjoyed both fresh and cooked. It's hard to find edible flowers
to purchase, but quite easy to grow most of them in your garden.
Since flowers are best when eaten soon after harvest, growing
your own edible flowers makes even more sense.
Use Caution When Selecting Edible Flowers
- Only eat flowers when you are absolutely
certain they are edible. Just because a flower is used as a
garnish, doesn't mean it's edible.
- Never eat a flower that has been treated
with a pesticide that was not labeled for use on food
products.Always follow the pesticide label instructions for
- Never eat flowers from florists,
nurseries or roadsides.
Harvesting and Storing Edible Flowers
- For most flowers listed as being edible,
they are referring to the petals only. Remove the pistils
and stamens before eating as well as any attached sepals.
- Expect the flavor of edible flowers to
vary seasonally and with growing location.
- Edible flowers should ideally be
harvested in the cool, morning hours. If you are not going
to be using the flowers immediatly, cut them with the stems
in tact and keep them in water. You could also store them in
damp paper towels, in the refrigerator.
Edible Flowers to Grow in Your Vegetable or Flower Garden
Borage has a cucumber like scent and flavor. The vivid blue
flowers make a striking addition to a salad or a last minute
garnish to cooked foods.
(Pot Marigolds) The petals work well in cooked and fresh
dishes. Calendula is also used as a saffron substitute. The
yellow or orange petals will color and flavor foods when
chopped and sautéed.
Everyone is familiar with dandelion wine, but the flowers
are also edible and quite delicious when young and tender.
There are many cultivated varieties that have been developed
for less bitter taste and more controlled growth, but even
the so called weeds in your lawn can be eaten, provided you
haven't used pesticides on them.
Most people are surprised to hear that Daylily flowers are
edible, however they are often stuffed and prepared like
- Gem Marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia):
'Lemon Gem' and 'Tangerine Gem' Marigolds are the only
edible marigolds. As their names suggest, they have a citrus
flavor, even though you won't smell a citrus scent. Pull off
the petals and break off and remove the bitter portion that
comes to a right angle.
- Herb Flowers:
(Anise Hyssop, Basil, Bee Balm, Chives, Cilantro, Dill,
Fennel, Garlic...) Many herb flowers are just as tasty as
the foliage and more attractive. Add some petals to any dish
you were already going to flavor with the herb.
Easy to grow. Flowers have a peppery tang to them. The
bright colors make great accents in salads. Can also be used
to infuse vinegar. or even vodka.
- Pansy: The
whole flower is edible, sepals and all. Pansies have a mild,
minty flavor. The flowers work well for candying and make
great decorations on top of hor d'oeuvres and cakes.
- Squash Blossoms:
All squash flowers are edible, not just zucchini. A popular
way of preparing them is to stuff the blossoms with cheese
and fry them.