Over the years I’ve often been asked “What flowers can I grow that are edible?” Well, there are quite a few edible flowers that I use, and many are also quite easy to grow.
Please make sure your flowers are safe, and if you think every herb or vegetable flower is safe, think again. There are some really basic flowers that you might think are ok, like tomato flowers. Don’t eat tomato flowers, as they’re from the nightshade family. Another common one to avoid is the potato flower (or its fruit berries), they are not for eating.
Some flowers and leaves are so pretty in a salad or as a garnish. Some taste amazing and others don’t taste much at all. either way, it’s a great way to spruce up a salad to make it amazing or a really quick way to garnish. Although, taste them before you go adding them to something. You don’t want a cake with a slight hint of onion flavour or possibly the peppery tang from a nasturtium leaf.
Edible Flower List
- Borage (flower)
- Broccoli (flower buds)
- Calendula/Marigold (Just break up the flower to serve the petals)
- Cauliflower (flower buds)
- Chamomile (for tea)
- Chives (flowers or buds)
- Chrysanthemum (flower)
- Nasturtium (blossoms and seeds)
- Pansies (Viola, flowers, petals)
- Rose Petals
- Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus buds, petals, seeds)
- Violet (‘leaf and flowers in salads, candied flowers for pastry decoration’)
- Zucchini blossoms (blossoms)
And why wouldn’t you grow some of these lovely plants? Most can be easily grown in pots, and they have more than one use. They provide nectar and pollen for bees and birds. Many will encourage beneficial insects that will help you grow organic by eradicating pests and pollinating your crops.
And don’t forget when you’re growing your edible flowers, avoid chemical pest controls and chemical feed. After all, you’ll be eating them.
So how to go about preparing them?
Preferably you’ll pick your flowers when they have fully opened. Make sure you know where they came from. The florist isn’t the best place for edibles because you don’t know what has been used on them.
Some flowers can be eaten whole like Violas, but others will need to be prepared in some way. Take for instance a Calendula or Nasturtium flowers. They’re huge, so you’ll want to just use the petals. They’re bright, colourful and have a slightly peppery flavour, brilliant for adding to salads for a bit of colour (interest) and bite.
Blue Borage and Red Sage are really pretty. You can use them in savoury or sweet. But the ones I use the most would be our native viola. Probably because I’ve got it growing all over the place at Bec’s Table.
I remember when I was a kid in NSW I would pick some of the flowers my Nan would let me have from her garden, and capture them in ice cubes. We added them to her homemade lemonade. Deliciously special. She made me feel so clever in the kitchen. lol
What’s your favourite edible flower?