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6 Edible Flowers You Can Grow And Eat This Summer

cake with flowers

Are you ready for the summer? Are you ready for plates overflowing with beautiful, delicious edible flowers? You should be!

If you enjoy gardening you might already have an herb or vegetable garden at your fingertips. But even if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of edible treats that you can grow just about anywhere in your landscape.

These are a few of the tasty delicacies that can go from flower garden to brunch or dinner plate in a jiffy. They’ll add a touch of class to any meal, and will surely impress your family and guests!

borage1. Borage

It might not have a particularly pretty name – sounds a little BORing, no? – but these star-shaped delights are anything but. Borage is also known as starflower, which is more appropriate and appetizing given the shape of it’s tiny blue flowers.

This plant is technically a flowering herb, but unlike other herbs where you typically eat the leaves, the flowers of this one are deliciously fresh with a taste reminiscent of a sweet cucumber.

One of the nice things about growing borage is how easy it is to do. It is an annual but self-seeds fairly prolifically. It loves sun, isn’t picky about the soil, and is easily moved to another location.

They’re excellent in summer salads, work beautifully in soups, are especially nice with some grilled salmon, and can even garnish a lemonade in style. Enjoy these in your garden and on your table from late spring through fall.

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anise hyssop

Potentillarecta, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Anise Hyssop

You are probably already familiar with the licorice-like taste of anise, and this plant has a similar flavor profile. But you might be surprised to learn that it’s part of the mint family, and related to neither anise nor hyssop!

Anise Hyssop can grow up to three feet tall, which makes it ideal for your wildflower garden or as a border plant. It’s a favorite of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and its elegant purple flowers will surely become a favorite on your dinner table, too.

Its flowers have a lovely anise scent in the garden and will bring that flavor – tinged with a hint of mint – to your plate. It is a perennial plant that easily self-seeds and like borage, isn’t particularly picky about soil. As an added bonus, it’s resistant to deer and drought.

It would be hard to find a more garden-and-table friendly flower! Use this flower anywhere you might want a punch of flavor. It’s great in teas, turned into jelly for toast, lamb, or other meat dishes, tossed into salads, blended into summer smoothies, and even used in cocktails!

bachelors button3. Bachelors Button

These flowers are as stunning in the garden as they are adorning dinner or dessert. They’re part of the family of flowers that includes asters, chicory, daisies, mums, and sunflowers (all of which are edible, too!) You may also know them as Cornflowers, but whatever you call them, they make quite a showing in any number of culinary creations.

While the taste ranges from almost flavorless, to slightly spicy-sweet, these flowers are prized for the beauty and color they impart both in the garden and on the table. They are available in shades of blue, pink, purple, and white, all of which can be added to a wide variety of both sweet and savory dishes in an exciting number of ways.

Sprinkle individual petals across a charcuterie board or over an ice cream sundae. Place whole flowers atop a strawberry shortcake, your favorite seafood dish, or into a salad for a vibrant pop of color and an impressive display.

They can be used to naturally color sugars for rimming cocktail glasses, icings for cupcakes, or syrups for beverages. Freeze whole flowers into ice cubes and add them to water or lemonade for an especially charming summer treat.

You can add petals to tea blends for color, top a plate of pasta with them, and even dry them for later use.

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bee balm4. Bee Balm

Bee Balm is another pollinator favorite. With these cheerful tufts of flowers in your garden, you will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, and enjoy a uniquely herbal aroma that has been described variously as oregano, mint and thyme.

Bee balm is also known as Wild Bergamot, and graces gardens and plates with vibrant colors of scarlet and lavender, rose-pink and white.

It’s a versatile plant that you can use fresh or dried, as a substitute for other herbs we’ve mentioned, and as a main ingredient in your own herbal blends.

Choose a native variety and you’ll have an easy time growing this plant even in unfriendly and clay-like soil. It grows best in full sun, can be drought-tolerant, and is rabbit-resistant. Leave the seeds through the fall and you’ll be feeding the birds right along with your family!

Use the petals to spice up salsa, add flavor to salads, season seafood, and add a uniquely colorful and tasty topping on pizza. It makes an excellent flavoring for iced tea, and can be used to infuse flavor into pretty glasses of water, too.

If you’re really feeling daring, you can bake the petals into breads, muffins, and cakes, or sprinkle them on top of sweet confections as a gorgeous garnish.

chicory5. Chicory

Some call it a weed – we call it the perfect garden addition! This pale blue-purple flower is actually a native of the Mediterranean, but has become naturalized throughout North America, making it easy to grow and care for. It is sometimes referred to as Italian Dandelion or even Blue Dandelion, another completely edible and underrated flower.

You may labor all summer to rid your yard of dandelion, but it would be a real casualty to eliminate chicory from your garden. As a relative of radicchio, its bitterness means a little goes a long way. Use any part of this flower – the leaves, petals, and roots – for a hint of flavor in salads or accompanying a vegetable dish, and your taste buds will thank you.

Chicory is also famous as an addition to New Orleans style coffee. Some can’t live without it, others find it too bitter. You’ll have to try it for yourself to see where you land!

Of particular interest is that Chicory flowers only bloom for one day. But don’t worry, they are prolific enough to keep blossoming throughout the summer. And they have earned their weedy reputation because they’ll grow just about anywhere – you’ve probably seem them blanketing the berms along the Garden State Parkway or peeking up from abandoned land and open pastures.

They aren’t spreaders, so don’t worry that they’ll take over your yard like dandelion might. Just include them in your wildflower garden, or tuck them along a border, and enjoy the sight as much as the flavor they bring.

clover6. Clover

You may not be scampering to plant Clover in your garden, but these tiny white tufts are going to pop up anyway. Instead of pulling your hair out every time a patch shows up in your yard, try snacking on them, instead!

The flowers have a lovely mild sweet flavor, very much like the honey they are famous for. Clover flowers make excellent syrups to flavor iced teas, lemonade and summer cocktails.

They can also be added to omelets and egg dishes, blended into compound butters, baked into bread, or sprinkled over salads for a surprisingly tasty treat.

So the next time the sight of these “pests” makes you go a little crazy, put down the weed killer, and consider how these incredibly resilient little flowers can turn an ordinary meal into something fun and special this summer.

Have any of these flowers inspired you to try them in your garden or on your plate? If you’re interested in planting a sustainable, low-maintenance and delicious landscape, let’s talk! Our designers are here to create an outdoor living space that brings you four seasons of enjoyment – whether it’s a gorgeous view from your window, or a striking addition to your mealtimes!

Get ready to eat your landscape!

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