Nothing glams up a salad or meal like a colourful mix of edible flowers, so why not fill your garden with flowers that not only look great but you can harvest as well? Growing edible flowers in your garden bed saves space in the veg patch, or use them to pretty up your productive garden and bring in the beneficial insects and pollinators as well – it’s a win win!
Just because the crop is edible doesn’t mean the flower is – tomato flowers are a good example. Also, don’t eat any flowers that might have been sprayed.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE PRETTIEST AND THE TASTIEST…
- BORAGE – pretty blue star shaped flowers that taste like cucumber. Use it in water jugs, on salads, fish and cheese dishes, and you can crystallise them with sugar for cake decorations.
- CHIVE FLOWERS – little purple fluffy pom poms that taste oniony.
- DAY LILIES (Hemerocallis)– not to be confused with regular lilies (which are poisonous!) The unopened buds taste nutty and minty – sautée in butter, or chop into salads and stir fries.
- NASTURTIUM – both flowers and the leaves are mildly peppery and spicy.
- ROSEMARY – we all know about the leaves, but the flowers are edible too!
- HOLLYHOCKS - a cottage garden staple, only eat the petals, not the stigma. A bit bland but look pretty in a fruit salad.
- CALENDULA – also known as pot marigolds, the petals have a tangy, peppery taste. Good in salads and savoury dishes and will add a yellow tinge to soups and spreads.
- VIOLAS – also known as Johnny Jump ups, they look like mini pansies. Taste kind of carroty, gorgeous in salads, also on top of cakes and biscuits.
- ROSE PETALS – choose a rose with smaller petals as they don’t bruise as easily. You can coat them in egg white and sugar them for cake decoration, add them to jams and jellies. A strawberry/vanilla-y taste.
- LAVENDER – just use the flowers, but not all lavenders taste good. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ and ‘Rosea’ are good ones for cooking. Have a nibble and see if you like the taste!
- MARIGOLD – botanical name is tagetes. The orange and yellow petals are pretty sprinkled on salads and taste a bit like saffron….turns your food orange too.
- BEGONIAS – taste citrusy apparently
- VEGETABLE FLOWERS – you can eat courgette, bean, pea and radish flowers
WHAT NOT TO EAT: definitely steer clear of hydrangeas, daffodils, azaleas, oleander, lantana, foxgloves, lily of the valley, morning glory, wisteria, lilies and calla lily flowers.