Um, nom, nom: is that what you think when you step out into your flower garden? The bees might, the butterflies might, but do you? You should. While some of your garden flowers are poisonous, others are actually quite tasty.
Adding flowers to a salad or dessert is a way to make it look pretty. However, if you live in a place where front yard vegetable growing is frowned upon, adding edible flowers to your garden is also a way to grow food on the sly. You’ll have a beautiful garden that also happens to be edible.
If you’re looking for more information on gardening in small spaces, we highly recommend Tricia’s book,
What garden flowers can you eat?
Borage flowers a little bit hairy, but if you can look past that, they have a lovely flavor. They taste a little bit like fresh cucumbers. They’re also ever-so-pretty in ice cubes or in salads. Try this recipe for borage flower and blue cheese salad from Lavender and Lovage!
When these early spring plants go to flower, never fear. You can eat the pink or purple chive flowers. Try them in an omelet like this one from the GreenMarket! The allium family (chives, onions, and garlic) is known for its profusion of edible blossoms.
Often lavender is a favorite for its smell or its ability to attract bees, but it’s also lovely as an edible flower. It’s a delicate dessert flavoring. Try out this delicious recipe for Honey-Lavender Plum Gratin from Eating Well. Lavender, honey, and plums? Oh yes.
Nasturtiums are fiery-looking and a little bit spicy in flavor. They’re tasty in salads, sandwiches, or added to edible oils. Seabreeze Organic Farm has a simple recipe for nasturtium flower and cream cheese sandwiches.
Roses not only smell good, they also taste good. Add them to a sweet salad or a fruit salad like this recipe from My Catholic Kitchen. You can make jelly with the rose hips as well!
Yes, these won’t disguise well, but those big, beautiful squash flowers are actually edible! Stuff them with cheese or other savory treats and cook them in the oven. The blossoms make a lovely food wrapper. Check out this three cheese stuffed squash blossom recipe from Araxi Restaurant.
Ah, these are so pretty in pots or popping up in the lawn, and they’re lovely candied as well. Candied violets are the perfect topping for a birthday cake. Seasonal Eating shows you the way to a garden of candied violets.
Notes on Edible Flowers
As always, remember that you can’t eat all flowers. If you’re teaching your children to eat edible flowers, make sure that you also warn them away from eating those flowers that they don’t know, as some of them are poisonous. If you’re going to eat your flower garden, be as careful in your tending of that garden as you are with your vegetables, and go organic. Remember to pick your flowers right before you eat them, as well: flowers are notoriously perishable, and an hour or two will make them go droopy.
Have you eaten your flowers today?