Everyone is familiar with one or two flowers that can be eaten, but only because they are often sugared and used to adorn cakes and pastries. Even then, those beautiful flowers are often set to the side and not actually eaten. If you are in love with the idea of adding flowers to salads, breads, drinks and spreads, try growing an edible flower garden that you can gather from as each one comes into bloom. Eating flowers is not so different as eating the other parts of the plants that we grow.
Try setting aside a special garden bed with the following plants that you grow specifically for eating or adding to your food.
Tips for an Edible Flower Garden
Garden Bed Planning
While it is okay to just collect flowers that you are growing in an already established garden, starting an entirely new garden for using is the best option. An edible garden relies on the maximum number of blooms from each plant so that you have a great harvest. Since you will be eating the flowers that you grow, they should be grown with little to zero chemicals.
Flowers from Herbs
There are several flowers that grow on herbs that are edible including chamomile, basil, anise, dill, marigold and lavender. Most herbs have a different part of the plant that are edible, but the flowers of each of these have their uses. Chamomile, anise and lavender are great steeped in tea. Dill and basil flowers are best tossed in salads or mixed into butter or cream spreads. Marigold, lavender and dill petals can be added to marinades and used for grilling.
Flowers from Vegetables
A lot of vegetables produce flowers too, and they are just as edible as the vegetables that you harvest. Zucchini and squash blooms are great stuffed and fried, packing a lot of flavor into their bright blooms. Arugula blooms pack a ton of flavor just like the green leaves and can be tossed right along with the rest of the greens. Allium leaves give bread, dips and spread a sharp garlic flavor and a beautiful color.
A lot of flowers that we grow are grown solely for their beautiful blooms and color, but there are a lot of them that are also edible. Sunflowers can be steamed, stuffed or roasted, and have a unique flavor all their own. Violets are one of the most common sugared flowers, eaten whole or steeped and used to flavor jams, candies and jelly. Rose petals are one of the more expensive ingredients in edible treats from jelly to water and even added to chocolate creations. Dandelions, clover and carnation flowers all make beautiful salad additions, or they can be tossed into cold pasta where they don’t need to be cooked or flavored.
Experiment with different types of edible flowers to find the ones that you enjoy the most and add them to your favorite dishes in order to create new ways to enjoy old favorites.