The earth laughs in flowers – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spring not only brings with it cheerful bird songs but cherry edible flowers to our homestead in the city. We’ve been growing edible flowers since the lawn was smothered some 20 years ago. In the late 1980’s we decided that we had enough of our front lawn – it was costing us “too much time and water.” We smothered it under layers of newspapers and mulch. In a few months time the grass underneath had died (composted), turning into a layer of soil. The easiest thing to plant was wildflowers – to “break in” (aerate) the new soil. So in the spirit of Johnny Appleseed, we just threw wildflower seeds everywhere! After a good winter rain, the results were spectacular!
Flowers have many uses, many attracting beneficial insects and some repelling bag bugs that aren’t welcome. Of course all flowers are pretty, but many are even edible. Did you know “Flower Cookery,” as they call it, has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures. Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign.
Folks are always asking me my fave edible flowers, so without further adieu my fab FIVE edible flower picks.
- Nasturtiums the Versatile Not only can you eat the flowers, but the young leaves are great in salads and the seeds can be pickled and used as a caper substitute.
- Pansies (and Violas, their smaller “sister”) not only bring a smile to your face, they also are great for decorating cakes and cupcakes.
- Calendula (or “Pot Marigold”) Known in the herbal world for soothing irritated skin. The petals can be used to add color to salads, even rice dishes.
- Bachelor Button (aka “Corn Flower”) are the bluest of all the flowers in the garden and blue is the rarest of the colors offered in nature. Pull the petals and use as “edible confetti” on salads or desserts.
- Borage’s bright azure flowers taste like cucumbers. Add them to salads or make dainty tea sandwiches. Or freeze them in ice cubes.
What’s your favorite edible flower?
Edible Flowers according to Wikipedia
Disclaimer: AVOID flowers grown by roadsides or those sprayed with pesticides (from florist). IDENTIFY many flowers are toxic (foxglove, potato and sweet pea) , make sure you positively identify before eating. CHECK taste a small amount to check for any allergic reactions or digestive problems.