You might not make the connection between flowers and food; but often we forget that flowers is an umbrella term for all types of plants, shrubs and leaves that may be used as herbs, spices and flavourings. So, for a garden with a twist, here is our list of the top 10 edible flowers that you can grow at home.
Chrysanthemums taste slightly bitter and have a peppery tang. As flowers they range in colours, so experiment with flavours as different petals have a different taste. Try them scattered over salads for added tang and a splash of colour. Chrysanthemum petals have been widely used in oriental cooking, so for an added zing, why not try it as a fragrant addition to olive oil.
Dandelions are quite a commonly edible flower, just think about Dandelion and Burdock. These flowers are most edible when picked as young buds and they have a sweet, honey flavour. Try steaming the petals for added taste, and dry them when picked young to preserve the quality. They are edible raw, and taste great as a sweet scatter on salads or warm dishes. For those particularly adept in the kitchen, why not try infusing the flavour of Dandelion into wine, beer or homemade jams and chutneys.
The common Marigold is also a surprisingly tasty flower. It has a strong, citrus flavour perfect as a sprinkle over summer salads. If you pick the petals and dry with care, you can also use it as an inexpensive alternative to Saffron to season a whole host of dishes.
The most popular flower is also edible! Rose petals taste sweet and aromatic, the stronger the colour – the more flavoursome the taste. The coloured part of the petal bears all its taste. They can be added as petals to dishes, you could also boil them to create a fragrant and calming tea.
Daisies are iconic as delicate and pretty flowers. Their small petals have a floral tang which compliments soft flavours as a sprinkling over dishes. More than its taste is its look, having a very delicate and feminine appeal, so why not freeze the petals and use as decoration on cakes, jellies, and biscuits or as beautiful table decoration.
Hibiscus is a very popular and easy to grow plant producing beautifully bright, colourful flowers. It’s also a rather popular tea, which can be made quite easily at home. Infuse the petals in boiling water for a mildly citrus, fruity tea, which has a calming, warming effect. If you become a fan of creating your own floral teas you could always infuse several flavours and add a few herbs to compliment the petals.
The popular and simple Sunflower is often eaten, with Sunflower seeds being a healthy and nutritious addition to breads and salads. But the petals are also edible and its mild, nutty taste is a great addition to a whole host of dishes. Try combining the petals and seeds in a bread or pastry for added taste and texture, or even simply sprinkled over a bright salad.
Perhaps the most popular edible flower, nasturtium blossoms are brightly coloured flowers which pack a sweet flavour with a peppery after taste. The seed pod is also sweet and spicy. This interesting fusion of flavours is a fantastic flower to grow yourself.
Light coloured Daylilies have a sweet and juicy taste, best eaten when picked as an open flower. They’re also very easy to grow, and such a crisp and refreshing flavour is easily added to a wide range of dishes.
Violas not only taste fabulous, they also have a beautiful scent, so are a truly fragrant flower perfect for adding to food. As the only winter blossoming plant which has edible petals, it is most perfect as a sweet compliment in soups and stews.