The great thing about gardening for me is that satisfies many different needs and desires all in one activity. Gardening gives me an excuse to be outside, allows me to express my creative side, surrounds me with beauty, and fills my kitchen with tasty bits. So often, I meet gardeners who put themselves into categories – they’re vegetable gardeners or flower gardeners for instance. I tend to believe we can just be gardeners – we can grow flowers that are only for beauty or we an grow vegetables only for eating – but gardening is a place where we can have it all if we so desire. We can grow beautiful and edible flowers right alongside those practical vegetables and herbs and right next too those flowers that only exist for the sake beauty and pollinators.
These light blue blooms taste quite a bit like cucumbers. Toss them in salads for a lovely color and light flavor. Mix it into yogurt with some mint for a creamy and savory snack. Borage is loved by bees as well so it can only serve your garden and kitchen well.
Bread Seed Poppies
Frilly and delicate, bread seed poppies come in a range of colors and provide us with tasty seeds to add to salad dressings and baked goods. They’re easy to grow and will re-seed if you leave a few pods in place to split open and spill to the ground. Starting them from seed each spring is easy too because they like a cold start.
These beautiful blooms tend to be some of my most favorite. They have medicinal qualities to be sure but they are completely edible and at home in many culinary uses. The yellow blossoms add a beautiful hue to cooked rice dishes, making it almost look like saffron was used without the expense (the flavor isn’t the same as saffron but it is mighty good). The blossoms also add a gorgeous bit of color to otherwise bland green salads.
The spiky blooms of chives can add a gorgeous hint of color and onion/garlic flavor to many cooked dishes. Put them in salads, infuse them in vinegar for a delightful salad dressing or different take on hot & sour soup, dry them to add to soups and casseroles in winter.
These fragrant blooms are edible and not as overpowering in flavor as their smell might hint. Toss them in salads, turn them into jelly, even mix them into cookie batter for beautiful color and flavor.
Brightly colored and full of peppery flavor, nasturtiums are huge hit of deliciousness for salads, soups and more. The seed pods can even be pickled for a caper-like addition to meals.
Thorny and full of bright and fragrant blooms, roses are edible too. The petals make for delicious additions to jams, cookies, and salads as well as make an amazing infused honey for tea and more. The hips are packed full of vitamin C and can be used for jelly, tea, and more.
Colorful and flavorful violets again make beautiful additions to salads and garnishes to cooked rice dishes, soups, and more. They also make beautiful jellies.
Permission to Get Creative with Edible Flowers
Salads are always an easy way to get some experience with edible flowers, but let those creative cooking skills loose and try adding flowers to baked goods, soups, and more. As the spring gardening fever hits, add some double duty flowers to your garden and get creative in the kitchen with edible flowers.