What Flowers Are Edible
Flowers can make for a truly beautiful garden. It is one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations that man can never replicate. While flowers are mainly for decorative purposes, there are some plant species that can provide flowers you can eat. This is not something new. In fact, ancient cooks were known to include edible flowers in their dishes for Julius Caesar. The question now is what flowers can you eat?
This is one of the edible flowers that is worth growing in any backyard. It belongs to the Calendula genus of flowering plants. They are often used together with green leafy vegetables to make salads. The flowers are also used as a natural food color, often in lieu of saffron. It is for this reason that many chefs consider marigold or calendula as the ‘poor man’s saffron’. The fresh petals of marigold have a slightly spicy, yet more subtle taste. It is a great addition to deviled eggs as it can add to the dish’s depth.
Most people consider dandelions as very stubborn weeds in the garden. However, this is one of the edible flowers to grow in your backyard. Like many of the flowers on this list, dandelions are great for salads. Some people even eat them raw. There are some regions in the country where they pick large dandelion flowers and coat them with a breading. They are then fried to make for a delicious, crispy snack. Dandelions also make an interesting ingredient to add depth of flavor to your jelly or wine. These garden nuisances are also rich in antioxidants. This gives the dandelion an amazing one-two punch as a culinary ingredient and a nutrient-dense food.
Everyone loves roses in their gardens. What some people don’t realize is that these are also flowers you can eat. When added to recipes, they have a subtle flavor that borders on being fruity. They can make excellent additions to salads and soups. They can also be exciting additions to desserts, teas, and jams. Some people also make candies out of rose petals. Many dishes in South Asian, Persian, and Middle Eastern cuisine also rely on rose water.
Hibiscus grow in both tropical and subtropical regions. The flowers can also grow up to 6 inches in diameter and can come in various colors. Hibiscus is not only an ornamental plant. It is also one of those edible flowers to grow in your garden. Some people like to eat hibiscus raw. Most, however, prefer to add it to their salad, jam, or relish. Hibiscus also makes for an excellent addition to conventional tea.
People call nasturtium the monk’s cress or Indian cress. It belongs to the same family of flowering plants as watercress. It has bright red or orange flowers that can grow up to 2.5 inches in diameter. It has the slight peppery taste of watercress, making it a great alternative. Most chefs use Indian cress in the making of rice paper rolls. The more adventurous chefs like to concoct a savory mousse to be stuffed into the whole flower of nasturtium. Others include the flower in a side dish of veggies.
This is another flower that you can eat. It is a large garden flower that has its origins from hybridization. These edible flowers have a slight minty flavor. This makes them ideal in fruit salads as well as summer cocktails that have herbs as other ingredients. They are also perfect as hors d’oeuvre to whet up one’s appetite before the main meal. A small cracker topped with cream cheese and pansy should give you a delectable appetizer.
This is one of the most versatile edible flowers on the planet. New blossoms can be excellent stuffing in fish and poultry. They can also serve as decorations for salads. Some like to crush the flowers to release all the flavorful extracts. These can make excellent additions to creams and soufflés. There is one cultivar or violets that has a distinct vanilla flavor. Rebecca violets are known for having an almost wintergreen-like flavor. There are also other cultivars that have distinct sweetness. They are ideal for teas, fruit salads, and desserts. Violets also work well with steamed veggies, grilled meats, and sweet and savory dishes. There is also a candied version of the flower.
Your favorite essential oil also happens to be one of the flowers you can eat. Lavender has a sweet, flowery flavor. It also has notes of citrus and lemon. This is a flower that works well with either sweet or savory dishes. One can add lavender to the ingredients for making chocolate cake or as an addition to a glass of champagne. You can also use is as a garnish for ice creams and sorbets. Lavender is also great for wine-reduction sauces and hearty stews. And if you use the immature lavender blooms, you will add a mysterious aroma to your flans, sorbets, and custards.
This is a flower that people also call horsemint, wild bergamot, and wild Oswego tea. Regardless of its name, bee balm is a flower that tastes like a cross between mint and oregano. It also has a mild citrusy flavor that incorporates the tangy sweetness of both orange and lemon. Because of its near-identical scent to oregano, bee balm can be a great substitute for the herb in certain dishes. It can also be a substitute for your usual tea.
This may come as a surprise to many. Sunflower is completely edible. In full bloom, sunflowers make great additions to salads and soups. They do have a slightly bitter taste. The best type of sunflower to eat is the unopened buds. These can be sautéed in butter or steamed whole. They have almost the same flavor as an artichoke.
These are some of the edible flowers to grow in your backyard. Not only do they make your garden look more beautiful; they also give you an ingredient to use in your culinary adventures.