Flowers can be used in various ways to bring color and vibrancy to any room or landscape. Did you know, however, that they can be used to add interest to dishes we cook as well? In the same way that we eat herbs and vegetables, there are many species of edible flowers. They add delightful elegance to a multitude of drinks, meals and desserts. They are not only beautiful, but also full of nutritious vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Most edible flowers also have anti-inflammatory properties and help soothe nerve pain. Edible flowers make excellent additions to salads, decorations for cakes, and can be made into jellies or coated with sugar for a delicious candy.
Not all flowers are edible, but there are plenty of species you can easily grow in your own garden. Here are just a few of the flowers you can experiment with:
Begonia: There are two types of begonias–tuberous and wax. Both are edible, though the wax begonias tend to have a slightly bitter aftertaste. The flowers of begonias taste similar to citrus and can be a delightful addition to salads or as a garnish to make a meal fancier.
Chrysanthemum: Mums offer a range of tastes, depending on which variety you choose. Some taste a bit like pepper, while others are slightly more bitter. Only the petals are eaten raw–they should be blanched then sprinkled over a salad. You can use the leaves to give vinegar a peppery kick.
Calendula (Marigold): The beautiful orange-yellow flower petals are the only edible parts of this plant. They add a lovely hint of yellow to rice, butter, and soup, and provide a flavor similar to saffron.
Dandelion: These familiar flowers are one of the most common edible flowers. The buds and young blossoms are sweetest, while older blooms become bitter. Add the petals to salad or sprinkle over rice dishes for a lovely honey flavor.
Hibiscus: These tropical flowers have an almost cranberry-like flavor with slight acidity. They are most often dried and used to create jamaica, a tea made with hibiscus flowers, water, and sugar.
Nasturtium: Like chrysanthemums, nasturtium have a peppery, spicy taste. Their flowers are used to garnish salads, appetizers, and cheese plates. Every part–the blooms, leaves, stems, and even seed pods are edible.
Pansy: These lovely flowers can be used to decorate desserts like cakes and fruit salad. They have a mild, fresh, green taste.
Rose: Delicate and sweet, roses are a long-time favorite flower to grow, smell, cultivate – and eat! Their petals adorn cakes and other pastries and bring floral flavors to ice creams and teas. Any rose can be eaten, though flavors are more pronounced in darker varieties. They taste of fruit and herb–a delightful combination for a light salad, dessert, or garnish in a cocktail.
Violet: Similar to pansies and roses, violets are sweet and delicious. Make them the delight of a party by freezing the fresh flowers into ice cubes. Their sweet perfume brings freshness and life to the dishes with which you garnish them.
It is best to grow flowers that you intend to eat at your home, so that you know exactly what species you have. You’ll also know exactly what fertilizers and pesticides (if any) were used on the plants as they grow.
Come to Big Earth Landscape Supply for all of the supplies you’ll need to grow a beautiful, colorful, edible garden! From fertilizer to containers, you can count on us for all things lawn and garden.