Designing a garden with edible flowers is not only pretty to look at, but delicious to eat. It also makes the garden safe for clients that may not know eating random flowers can be dangerous.
Growing edible flowers in your garden is easy and so beautiful, that they can be grown in your front yard! Growing them yourself also insures that pesticides were not used (they will alter the flavors), as florist trade flowers are usually sprayed and roadside flowers may be tainted with automobile fumes.
List of great edible flowers:
Alcea rosea – Hollyhock ~ Full of vitamins
Aquilegia canadensis – Columbine ~ Refreshingly sweet
Borago officinalis – Borage ~ Taste like cucumbers
Calendula officinalis – Marigolds ~ High in vitamin A & C
Campanula persicifolia – Bellflower ~ Sweet
Centaurea cyanus – Cornflower ~ Stunning garnish
Cercis canadensis – Redbud ~ Acidic in taste
Dianthus – Cheddar Pinks ~ Taste like cloves
Gladiola – Lettuce-like
Hemerocallis – Daylilies ~ Have a chestnut flavor
Hibiscus syriacus – Rose of Sharon ~ Great garnish
Nasturtiums ~ Has a peppery bite
Lavandula – Lavender ~ Clean and flowery tasting
Lonicera japonica – Japanese honeysuckle
Monarda didyma – Bee Balm ~ Minty
Oxalis corniculata – Yellow Wood Sorrel ~ Pleasant sour taste
Rosa spp. – Wild Rose ~ Petals & fruits (hips)
Sambucus canadensis – Elderberry ~ The flower clusters make a nice tea
Solidago odora – Sweet Goldenrod ~ aromatic, anise-flavored
Syringa vulgaris– Lilac ~ Sweet and fragrant
Tilia americana – Basswood ~ The leaf buds and flowers
Trifolium spp. – Clover ~ Taste like honey
Viola, spp. – Violet ~ The leaves & flowers
Care while processing the blooms:
- Pick flowers right before you intend on using them, but they can be kept inside a damp paper towel in the refrigerator for a day.
- Always rinse blooms gently with water and pat dry with paper towels.
What to do with your blossoms:
In addition to the fruits, squash plants provide edible blossoms. Male flowers supposedly hold the most flavor. Many find dipping them in a tempura batter or lightly sautéing them delightful.
There are also many blossoms for the salad bowl such as; nasturtiums, arugula, okra, chives, basil, marigold, fennel, mustard or bee balm. Many fruit salads benefit with pineapple sage, rose, violet, lilac or pansy blossoms.
Candied decorations are easily made by collecting roses, pansies, violets or other edible flowers. Evenly brush a light coat of lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with superfine (not confectioners) sugar. Let dry on a bakers rack or screen and store in a tight-lidded container.
As daylilies start to fade, harvest them and place in a vegetable steamer until just wilted. Toss with a little butter and Parmesan cheese for a great appetizer.
Ice blossoms are a beautiful way to dress-up drinks and punches. Fill an ice container half-full of water and freeze. Add flowers carefully, then add a teaspoon of water on top, being careful not to move the blooms. After they freeze, fill balance of tray.
Scented sugar is easily made by layering scented geranium leaves, such as lemon, rose, chocolate or mint within a sugar bowl. Using this sugar is great in ice teas and baking.
To make a tasty spread for bread or crackers, fold calendula, nasturtium or arugula blossoms into soft butter or cream cheese.
Do you have a favorite edible flower that didn’t make this Midwestern list?
Do you have any favorite flower recipes you’d like to share?
Please leave them in the comments!!