by Phil Nauta
When planting a new vegetable garden there is one thing we should be sure to include: edible flowers!
These little guys not only brighten up the garden, but also our dinner plates and our palettes.
If you’re interested in growing nutrient-dense foods, this edible flowers list could add some great variation to your already-wonderful organic vegetable garden.
You may have grown and eaten many edible herb flowers like basil, thyme or garlic blossoms but there are so many others flowers that taste great and are easy to grow.
Besides turning your dinner plate into a piece of edible art, edible flowers do wonders for the garden by attracting bees, butterflies and another beneficial insects. They help to turn the soil into a vibrant, living community.
My sister Haley spent a summer in Italy, and she can remember bright yellow, squash blossoms were in season and they became a staple garnish in the house.
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but here is our list of edible flowers that you might already have growing in your garden (or you might consider growing them next season):
1) Pansies: On their own the petals are fairly mild but the entire flower is edible so you can eat every part. Since there are many different colors these are wonderful for creating a beautiful plate. Use them in salads, soups or garnish anything that needs color. They also candy very well.
2) Yucca Petals: For years I didn’t know this one. Think of all the delicious petals I missed out on. Still, these edible flower petals are wonderful raw in salads, or you can use them to make a soup. If you have a way to squeeze the juice out, it’s excellent added to a foliar fertilizer because it helps the other fertilizers stick to the leaves, and it’s nutritious itself.
3) Dandelions: I wanted to include this one on our edible flowers list, to show yet another reason to love these “weeds.” The flowers are sweet and delicious when you pick them young – older flowers are bitter. The young buds taste even better.
4) Sweet Woodruff (Galium): These small flowers have a sweet flavor with a hint of vanilla. They are safe to eat, but should be consumed in small amounts.
5) Pea Blossoms (Pisum species, not ornamental varieties): These delicious blossoms are sweet with a flavor much like the peas. Don’t eat too many, because this will take away from the peas you harvest, but do enjoy some raw ones on a salad or as a tasty snack while you’re gardening.
So that’s my edible flowers list, and I should note that just because some flowers are edible, it doesn’t always mean the fruit or other part of the plant is safe, so be sure to research before trying.
Phil Nauta writes about his vegetable garden on his website SmilingGardener.com.
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Guest Writer Article Submission Form.