Edible Flowers

    • Tomatoes can be set out with protection. “Season Starter” will protect them down to 20°F and will give them a warm environment during the day.
    •Plant sunflowers now from seed or plants. Choose either the multi-stemmed kinds for cut flowers or the giants for edible seeds.
    •Dahlias come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Plant the roots now for flowers this summer.
    •Put up hummingbird feeders this month and enjoy these colorful and entertaining birds.
    •Last chance to plant asparagus roots this year. This delicious vegetable will keep producing for up to 20 years.

A Feast of Flowers

Many of the plants we grow for their flowers were once grown for their flavors as well. Today, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in vogue. Many restaurant chefs and creative home cooks garnish their entrees with flower blossoms for a touch of elegance.

Common edible flowers include nasturtiums, Johnny-Jump-Ups, borage and chive blossoms, calendulas, bachelor buttons and carnations. Lavender, daylilies and lilacs have edible flowers as well.

Nasturtiums are among the most delicious edible flowers, with a mildly spicy flavor. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse and use leaves to add a peppery tang to salads. Johnny-Jump-Ups make lovely garnishes and decorations and have a faint wintergreen taste that can be used in salads, drinks and soups.

The dainty star-shaped, sky-blue flowers of borage add a cool cucumbery flavor to the salad. Use in punches, lemonade, and sorbets. Chive blossoms, in lavender-pink, have a subtle onion flavor that goes well with salads, eggs and potatoes.

The bright yellow and orange flowers of calendulas, which prefer the cooler days of spring and fall, have a spicy, tangy, peppery flavor and add a golden hue to foods. Pull out the flower petals and add them to salads, rice dishes, eggs and cheese.

Bachelor’s buttons have a sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor and are used as a garnish. Carnations have a spicy, peppery, clove-like flavor. Use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts.

English lavender has a sweet, floral flavor. Flowers look beautiful and are tasty with chocolate cake or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant. They are very fragrant, but slightly bitter, with a distinct lemony taste. Use the newly opened blooms to add their sweet fragrance to cookies, cakes and salads.

Daylilies bloom in yellow, orange, red and many shades in between. Each blossom lasts only a day, but the plants bloom so profusely that they are attractive for a long time.

They are valued for their delicate flavor that is sweet and crunchy, like a crisp lettuce leaf. Pick daylily flowers in the afternoon. Wash them in cool water and pat them dry to use in soups and stir fries or tossed in a salad.

Do be cautious about eating flowers. Allergic reactions are always possible with any new food, so sample sparingly the first time you try any edible flower. It is possible that people who suffer from hay fever will have a bad reaction from the pollen, so it may be best to skip the edible flowers.

For best flavor, use flowers at their peak. Flowers that are faded or wilted will taste bitter. Perk up your summer salads and hot dishes with some of these edible flowers.

If you choose seeds or starts of these plants this spring, you will be harvesting their tasty flowers later this spring and summer.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.