Growing a garden is a great way to add fresh food to your diet.
Do you think of edible flowers when you plant your garden? All to often, gardens can be limited to veggies like cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes. We may also plant fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. If these fruits and veggies were all you chose to plant, you would get a great variety of delicious foods. But, there IS more you can add to your garden! Consider adding edible flowers.
Besides being great food for bees, edible flowers are the perfect way to add beauty to any meal. Whether you use them as a garnish or as an ingredient, you won’t regret the results. Here are a few edible flowers to consider.
Begonias have a somewhat sour, somewhat citrus taste. The flowers, stems, and leaves are all edible. The petals are wonderful as a colorful garnish or in a salad. Use the stems as a replacement for rhubarb. Try topping a cake with whipped cream frosting with some of the petals for a beautiful treat. Please note that individuals dealing with kidney stones, gout, or rheumatism can’t consume begonias raw due to the toxic acid they contain.
When planting begonias, they will need partial shade. They can be grown outdoors all year long in tropical climates, or brought indoors in cooler temps. Begonias can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. They can also be propagated by leaf cuttings, allowing for more of this edible flower next year!
Many people are familiar with dandelion wine, but the uses for this edible flower don’t stop there. The buds are very sweet with an almost honey-like flavor. Commonly used in salads, the buds are good both raw and steamed. For best results, pick the buds closest to the ground.
Dandelions bloom in the Spring and early summer. The best time to collect the blossoms is when they are fully open and bright yellow. The greens can be used in salads, soups, pastas and in green smoothies. The greens are most tender when they are young, but older greens can be eaten as well. Older greens may need to be sauteed or cooked to reduce toughness.
Dandelion roots make a great herbal coffee replacement. To get that recipe, read here.
Also called spinach dock, sorrel is an edible flower that has a light, lemony flavor. It’s a slender, herbaceous plant that can grow up to 24 inches high. Sorrel often has deep roots and juicy stems. The leaves themselves are arrow shaped, and have a sour taste to them raw. Flowers will bloom in mid to late Summer.
Sorrel leaves taste great when added to sauces or summer dishes, like cucumber salad. This edible flower also makes an interesting topping for pizza. Sorrel is used worldwide in a number of culinary applications.
A garden pansy is typically 2-3 inches in diameter. Two of the petals are slightly overlapping, with the bottom has a slight “beard”, coming from the middle of the flower’s center. Petals can be white, yellow, purple or blue. When planting pansies, keep in mind that they need partial sun and well drained soils.
Pansy petals are mild in taste and are somewhat grassy in flavor. However, eating the whole flower allows you to experience more of a wintergreen taste. This edible flower is perfect for fruit salads and soups.
The taste of geraniums depends on the varieties selected. These edible flower flavors range anywhere from lemony to spicy. Try sprinkling geranium petals over desserts or freezing them in ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink.
When planting geraniums, they will need partial shade to full sun. Geraniums will need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight in temps 65 and above to thrive. Soil should be well drained. Watering should be done at least weekly to keep soil moist, but not soaked. Geraniums can be deadheaded, or the spent blooms pulled off, to keep them blooming all summer long. They can be brought inside in the winter to grow in a pot.
These beauties are not just harvested for their seeds anymore! You may be surprised to learn that sunflowers taste similar to artichokes. They are best when consumed at “bud stage.” Steaming the buds is the preferred cooking method. Once the flower opens, the flavor morphs to more bittersweet.
This is a beautiful yellow to orange edible flower that is wonderful as a tea. Just pick the flowers at their peak, and dry them in a dehydrator to enjoy their goodness.
With a mild flavor similar to radishes, nasturtiums are the perfect complement to any salad. They can also be sprinkled into soups for a pleasing flavor. Try them stuffed or sauteed like spinach!
These are just some of many beautiful edible flowers that you can add to your garden and dinner table. Are there any favorites you have that are not listed here?
What edible flowers would you choose from this list? Will you plant these this year? Be sure to pin this for later!
the post first appeared on thehomesteadinghippy.com See it here