You might not have the patience to tend a vegetable garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat what you plant! There are plenty of edible flowers that can both fill your garden beds and look spectacular on your plate.
Today we’re covering a mere seven of these beauties. There are plenty more if you’re interested! Take a look at some of the blooms that are as tasty as they are lovely and see if any inspire you to plant them or include them in your next meal.
It’s the official state flower of New Jersey, and for good reason. The violet is anything but shy, and will grow as brightly in your garden as it will along roadsides and in fields and wooded areas. They make excellent ground cover, pretty accents around trees, and lovely accompaniments to your pond or natural stream.
Both the leaves and flowers are edible, and their abundance makes them ideal for turning into jelly and syrup, for infusing oil, for topping cakes, and even for adding to salads and soups. Their taste is slightly sweet, which makes them a great addition to your afternoon tea, as a coating for a cheese ball, or as an accompaniment to dessert.
Candied blossoms look especially pretty on top of desserts, and if you want to add some fabulous red-purple color to your beverages, try adding violet syrup to your lemonade or iced tea.
These bold blossoms will grace your garden in a virtual rainbow of color – red, blue, orange, burgundy, yellow, purple, pink, white, apricot, even black! Some are solid colors, others have black lines radiating from the center, and still others have more of a multi-colored “splotchy” look.
Whichever variety you choose, they taste as sweet as they look. Use them to make syrups, to flavor honey, in salads, adorning cookies or cakes, and as an impressive cocktail garnish.
They pair as well with cheese as violets do – simply roll a ball of cream cheese or blue cheese in a mixture of petals and finely chopped nuts and you’ve got an instant – and stunning – h’ors d’oeuvre.
Calendula is a hardy annual that will brighten your garden with bold shades of yellow and orange from early summer right through first frost. They’re great additions to a wildflower garden, as ground cover, borders, and will grow well in a container garden as in the ground.
Both the leaves and petals are edible, and the bright hues have long been used to color and flavor everything from breads, cakes, and cookies, to cheeses, soups and rice dishes. It’s just as tasty and a lot less expensive than saffron!
This flower leans savory, so use petals in salads, with your scrambled eggs, and as a beautiful addition to quiche. Try freezing a few flowers into ice cubes for a stunning addition to summery iced teas and cocktails.
These summer-blooming bulbs produce spectacular flower spikes from two to six feet tall that have earned them the nickname “sword lilies.” They bloom in colors ranging from purple and burgundy to pink, lavender and green. They make impressive borders and even more impressive container gardens.
Gladiolus flowers resemble lettuce in flavor, so add them to salads for a punch of color, or lay them on sandwiches the next time you want to make your ham and cheese feel a whole lot more gourmet.
They’re excellent stuffed, too. Use them as you would a squash blossom and fill with a mixture of cheeses, or try egg or tuna salad for an alternative to your everyday sandwich. Turn them into appetizers for your next party and watch the look on your guests’ faces as you pass around a tray of brightly colored stuffed flower blossoms.
Bright pink, red and orange, you may be familiar with this garden gem as a favorite of tea lovers. Hot or iced, steeping its leaves produces a similar color and tang to cranberries. It is, in fact, one of the few flowers that can stand up to cooking.
They’re just as perfect in quesadillas and enchiladas as they are turned into pies or jam. Turn them into simple syrup, use them to garnish a cocktail, cook them like spinach, or add them to stir fry. And whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy them in your summer garden!
Honeysuckle is best known for its twining vines, covering walls and fences, and winding through pergolas and gazebos. It blooms in shades of pink, yellow, orange and white, imbuing an intoxicating scent throughout your landscape, and the delicate flowers look and taste as sweet.
The flowers produce a sugary honey-like nectar that you can suck right out of the bloom! As with many edible flowers, the leaves can be infused into tea and spirits, turned into syrup, or used as a garnish. Honeysuckle blossoms are used in winemaking, add flavor to some gins, and are turned into mead.
It pairs well with other herbs and fruits, like sage, mint, peaches, and citrus fruits. Bake it into a cake, add it to a vinaigrette, or make a jelly to enjoy all winter until your blooms emerge next spring.
This must-have in butterfly gardens will also attract a wide variety of birds, including jays and cardinals, siskins and goldfinch. They’ll adorn your wildflower garden in bursts of purple and red, orange and yellow, pink and white. You may also know it as echinacea, that prolific flu remedy and digestive supplement.
But did you know that the petals of this gorgeous flower can be enjoyed on your dinner table, too? Slightly bitter, spicy and floral, they’re great in dishes that can stand up to stronger flavors. Add them to soups and salads, pair them with citrus and berries, or steep them with a sweetener like honey or agave to cut the bitterness and produce a tasty and healthy beverage.
As with all edible plants, be cautious – some varieties are edible while others may not be, and a few flowers are good imposters but not good dinner companions.
There are so many edible flowers that it would be a shame if at least a few didn’t make it into your dining experience. If any of these tickled your taste buds and you want to talk about incorporating them into your landscape design, contact us for a consultation. We’ll work with you to create a four-season garden that you can enjoy with all your senses.