In gardens there is a never ending war among the plants for space. What we human gardeners do is decide who fills it. Will it be flowers? Vegetables? Trees? A perfect green lawn? Whatever strikes our fancy we can plant, for every garden is the creation of a human mind in search of beauty and a space of one’s own desires. Forget what fancy home and garden magazines, TV shows and especially Disneyland, tout as today’s style. Design is infinite, and your idea of beauty is as good as any one’s.
Flower seeds and bulbs found in free seed catalogs will produce a beautiful flower garden for you to enjoy visually, but have you ever considered eating flowers from your flower garden?
Edible flowers make beautiful decorations and many add to the flavor of a dish. Flowers are only suitable for your plate if they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals. That’s why the best edible flowers are the ones flowers you grow yourself right from your own flower garden.
So How About Eating Some of That Beauty?
Well, it’s very possible. And in these days of gourmet competition in the kitchen, you can wow your picky friends and family with flower embellished food.
Flowers are easiest used as a garnish on salads or as you would use fresh herbs on hot dishes. Some blossoms have a mild taste, some are spicy, some mimic herbs. Most people are adventurous enough to taste at least one blossom.
Keep in mind that not all flowers from flower seeds are edible. It is enticing to decorate a plate or buffet table with a floral display from your tended flower seeds, but take care to eat only those that are suitable. Do not eat the entire flower. Choose only the petals after they have been well washed. As well, make sure that pesticides have not been used on flower gardens that you will using in your food preparation. Check that you or your family and friends do not have plant allergies before serving flowers.
Having said this, there is nothing more elegant and appealing than bright, beautiful, edible flowers garnishing a dish.
For a mild taste: Try squash blossoms, rose petals, pansy, borage, violets and hollyhock.
For a more spicy flavor: Consider marigold, stock, nasturtium (a bit like horseradish), geranium (all different, nibble one first), dianthus (peppery-cloves), daisy, calendula and chrysanthemum.
The flowers of commonly used herbs: chives, thyme, sage, and rosemary, work well too, if you catch them young. Lavender blossoms are another possibility, and may be sprinkled on vanilla ice cream. Their fragrance and wondrous color are sure to be a treat.
I will never forget the time that I surprised my family with a green salad, adorned with edible flowers. My sister and her family were visiting us at the time. Her husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He laughed so hard when the salad was placed in front of him, and to this day I believe that he still thinks that I am nuts.
Well the joke is on him. Some of the fanciest and select dining rooms, use edible flowers that they grow from their own flower seeds found in free seed catalogs in their presentations – not just for the visual appeal, but also for the different flavors added by the flowers themselves.
Following is a selection of easy to grow, accessible flowers from flower seeds for your table. My favorites include:
- bachelor buttons
- chive and garlic blossoms
- rose petals
- honey suckle
Edible Flower Seeds
Recently when out for dinner, my wife and I enjoyed a beautiful dessert tray decorated with edible orchids. Not only did they complement the chocolate truffles and dipped strawberries, but they were tasty as well. There has probably never been a greater selection of flower seeds, vegetable seeds, herb seeds, heirloom seeds and organic seeds to be found in free seed catalogs than there are today. Gardening is one of the most favored pastimes across the country adding color to our yards, streets and parks.
Whatever the type of gardening you prefer, whether it be flower seeds gardens or vegetable seeds gardens there is no shortage to the list of wonderful gardening ideas to be found. One type of gardening that has been around forever but seems to be gaining new popularity is that of edible flower gardening. Edible flowers can include; alliums (leeks, chives, garlic), angelica, argula, anise, hyssop, basil, bee balm, borage, carnations, chamomile, chrysanthemums, clover, cornflowers, dandelions, lavender, lilac and pansies to name a few.
Some edible flower tips can include; only eat flowers if you are absolutely positive they are edible; do not eat flowers from florists, garden centers or nurseries (most flowers have been treated with pesticides); introduce flowers in small quantities as they may cause digestive problems.
Not only does planting flower seeds and vegetable seeds add color and beauty to your yard, but when used in the kitchen fresh flowers and produce can give your cooking a whole new meaning.
A nasturtium recipe: On cold tomato soup float some flowers and add a few leaves chopped up. Their taste is hot, sweet and sour all at once – a complicated taste. The first savor is not all there is to be enjoyed.
Experiment and enjoy.