You’ve seen them - cakes, teas, salads, etc. topped with dainty flowers that would make any garden fairy jealous! We can’t get enough of edible gardens and are looking for any and every reason to add them to our recipes! Some might call us “extra” but we say “why not?”
Now, before running out to your backyard and swooping up a handful of fresh blossoms, we need to know which flowers are edible and which ones to stay far away from. Let’s create an edible flower garden!
HOW TO CREATE AN EDIBLE FLOWER GARDEN
WHY ARE EDIBLE GARDENS FUN?
Edible gardens add a whimsical touch to ordinary simple dishes. At first, it might seem a little extravagant, but flowers actually have similar benefits to vegetables and herbs. Plus, somedays we need a little pop of creativity and color!
WHICH FLOWERS ARE BEST?
According to the Gardener’s Supply Company, this following is a list of flowers perfect for adding a gourmet touch!
Alliums. Chives, leeks and garlic are all delicious in green salads, potato and pasta salads and dips. Remove the central stem from the flower cluster to release the separate florets.
Nasturtiums. Blossoms have a peppery flavor like watercress. All colors and varieties are tasty in salads or as garnishes. Leaves can be eaten, too.
Marigolds. Use the tiny flowers of signet marigolds, such as Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem. Their blossoms have a citrus taste.
Pansies and Johnny jump-ups. These flowers have a wintergreen flavor and are pretty on cakes and other desserts. Glaze with warmed jelly for a jeweled look.
Calendula. An easy and prolific edible flower that's easy to grow from seed right in the garden. Separate the petals from the center of the flower and sprinkle the petals into salads. Colors range from pure yellow to orange and red. Remove spent flowers and the plants will bloom continuously from early summer into late fall.
Anise hyssop. If you like anise, this is the edible flower for you. Separate the florets and add them to sweet or savory dishes. Or use the full flowers to garnish a cheese plate.
Honeysuckle. The blossoms make a pretty addition to salads. Don't use the berries; they're poisonous.
Scarlet runner beans. Mix these bright-red flowers into salads, or in with steamed veggies.
Borage. This fuzzy-leaved herb has sky-blue flowers with a light cucumber taste. Add to fruit salads, green salads or freeze in ice cubes for cold drinks.
Bee balm. This member of the mint family has minty-tasting flowers. Colors range from bright red to purple and pink.
Chamomile. English chamomile has small, daisy-like flowers with an apple-like flavor. If you're allergic to ragweed, you might want to avoid chamomile.
Daylily. Daylily buds and flowers taste a bit like asparagus. They can be used as a garnish, or can be stuffed or made into fritters. Good in stir-frys, too.
Mint. Like bee balm, all flowers of the mint family are edible and have a pleasant taste. Try lemon balm or spearmint in iced tea.
Squash blossoms. Use these as you would daylilies (see above).
WHERE TO PICK OUT FLOWERS AND GATHER SUPPLIES?
Where will your edible garden be located? Near your house? At the back of your large yard? Will you plant in the ground or in pots. A few plants? Or an entire landscaping? Create a game plan and make a list of items you will need to purchase.
If in pots or unhealthy soil, grab bags of soil to prep for your seeds/plants. Based on how many plants and their location, do you need to grab a watering hose or watering can? How is the sun in your backyard? Make sure to check the tags on the plants to make sure the area you have chosen will meet their needs!
There are many excellent online sites for sourcing seeds and plants, such as the Gardener’s Supply Company, but if you have the itch to get started, your local farmer’s market, Lowes, or Home Depot will carry what you need!
A few items we're loving:
WHAT TO USE YOUR FLOWERS IN?
Now for the stage we’ve all been waiting for! Your flowers are blooming, your yard looks like a paradise, and it’s time for all of the hard work to pay off! Edible flowers can be used in almost every type of dish! Did you know that you can even add them into pasta dough for fettuccini? AMAZING! Check out these inspo images we're dying to try! *chef's kiss*
Here is a recipe we are LOVING! Between the GORGEOUS Pansies truly elevating the salad, mixed greens, blood orange vinaigrette, freshly sliced fruits and vegetables - our mouths are watering as we're typing this! Truly, this is the epitome of a spring salad!
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 1 apple very thinly sliced
- 1 carrot
- 1/4 red onion very thinly sliced
- handful of assorted fresh herbs such as basil oregano, thyme, leaves only
- 1-2 ounces creamy goat cheese use crushed pistachios for vegan
- pansies stems removed
- juice of 1 blood orange about 1/4 cup
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp champagne vinegar or other mild white vinegar
- pinch salt
Whisk together the vinaigrette, adjusting any of the ingredients to your taste.
Pile the greens into a wide salad bowl.
Peel and shave the carrot into thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Add to the greens along with the apple slices, onion, and herbs. Toss. with the dressing and garnish the salad with crumbles of goat cheese and the pansies. Serve immediately.
(all inspiration images gathered from Pinterest)