Bet you thought I was going to tell you to eat your vegetables
The bees are on to something…
I took this picture in the edible garden that I am interning at. How gorgeous is this bumble bee sucking at the nectar of this chive blossom?
Speaking of chive blossoms, you can eat these vibrant purple flowers that spring forth from the tips of delicious chives! The amazing thing is they taste just like chives. They are a perfect addition to a garden salad with an assortment of lettuces and fresh veggies.The pop of floral purple in your salad is enough to impress anyone. I still impress myself when I look down into my salad bowl and see FLOWERS in my salad! The best way to eat chive blossoms is to remove the central stem, and separate the florets so you have little flecks of purple throughout.
Have I enticed you to eat your flowers yet? I hope so, as it is a real food treat for both your palate and your eyes. You know what they say…you eat with your eyes first!
BUT WAIT! Before you go digging up your neighbour’s flower beds to toss into your kitchen creation, you should know not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous, so please be wise and do your research before you eat your flowers.
I have compiled a list of some edible flowers for you to try and a short description for those who are eager to get some flower power!
Alliums: These include flowers from leeks, onions, chives & garlic. The flowers usually taste like the bulb and are best used in savoury dishes. For example tossed in salads, topped on pastas or omelettes.
Anise Hyssop: The flowers of this plant taste like anise/licorice and are lovely in savoury or sweet dishes.
Arugula: If the arugula plant is left to flower, arugula flowers have a nutty, somewhat spicy flavour( just like the arugula greens!). Add to pastas, pestos, salads, or any savoury dish where you would welcome the taste of arugula.
Basil: Similar to the arugula plant, if left to flower, the whitish pink blossoms taste like basil leaves. Add to savoury dishes that would pair well with basil flavours. Divine sprinkled on a tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella salad
Bee balm: These red flowers are part of the mint family of plants. They taste like mint and oregano.Perfect topped on pasta or tossed in a fresh salad.
Borage: These blueish purple flowers are stunning as decoration on desserts.
Cilantro: If the herb is left to flower these delicate white flowers taste like the herb. Perfect in asian style dishes such as noodles, rice paper rolls, or anything that would go well with the taste of cilantro.
Dill: If the herb is left to flower these the yellow flowers taste similar to dill. Lovely for pickling veggies!
Johnny Jump-ups: Can be found in a variety of colours such as purple, yellow & white. They make for a wonderful addition to savoury or sweet dishes as they are very mild tasting.
Lavender: These fragrant purple flowers can be used as a garnish or added to recipes fresh or dried.
Lemon Verbena: These small cream-coloured flowers taste like lemon. Perfect in savoury or sweet dishes.
Nasturtium: are considered one of the more popular edible flowers. They range in colour from yellow, to orange, to deep red. They have a bit of a spicy flavour to them. Striking in a summer fresh salad.
Roses: All varieties of roses are edible, and come in a wide range of gorgeous colours. Sprinkle petals into salads or desserts. **** Roses that are sold in flower shops have been heavily sprayed and are not fit for consumption. Wild roses or roses grown specifically for human consumption are the safe choices.
Squash flowers: sometimes known as zucchini blossoms, taste of raw squash. Remove the stamens before eating. Delicious stuffed with soft cheeses such as ricotta.
Thyme: If the herb is left to flower the small whitish yellow flowers have a similar taste to the herb. Perfect sprinkled a top of grilled fish or chicken.
So, eat your flowers….
Jaime FlowerChild Slavin
Special mention to Laura Matthias of Phoenix Organic Farm for her edible flower references. You can learn about many more edible flowers in her delicious cookbook ExtraVeganZa-Original Recipes from Phoenix Organic Farm New Society Publishers 2006.