I may be a granny but this blog is science based garden information with a lot of gardening experience thrown in. There's a bit of reminiscing, ranting, story telling and wishful thinking thrown in too. Have fun reading and don't be afraid to comment.
Calendula is edible.
Flowers often look pretty enough to eat and the good news is
that you can eat some flowers. In fact
in your garden there are bound to be a variety of flowers that you can use as edible
decorations or even in cooking. There
will be a list of edible flowers at the end of the article but there are some
important things to keep in mind before harvesting the flower bed for edibles.
First, there are some flowers that could make you very ill
or even kill you if you ate them so you must know how to properly identify
flowers before you experiment with them. If you aren’t sure about a particular
flower ask an experienced gardener or take a sample to your local countyExtension
office for identification. You could
also check garden catalogs and reference books.
Just because a plant has some edible part doesn’t mean that
all parts are edible, including the flowers.
A good example is the flowers of tomatoes and potatoes, which would make
you pretty ill if eaten. So even after
identifying the plant as a food plant, make sure the flowers are edible.
Second you should only eat flowers that you know haven’t
been treated with pesticides. Many
garden flowers get regular applications of pest control products, and some
flower products are not formulated for plants that are going to be
consumed. This includes systemic
products that get taken into the plant tissues and can’t be washed off. If it isn’t your garden that you are
plucking edible flowers from you need to get information from the gardens
Plants growing along roadsides, such as the common daylily,
are also not a good choice for edibles.
They may have been contaminated with all sorts of chemicals that leach
and blow off the road. Plants growing
near field crops may have accumulated pesticide drift and also should be
Choosing and using edible
For the prettiest edible flowers choose newly opened,
unblemished flowers in the early morning.
While in the garden examine flowers for bugs and shake them off if you can.
Avoid flowers with dirt on them or flowers that look like they may have a mold
or fungal growth on them.
If they are not going to be used right away pick edible
flowers with stems so they can be put into water. Keep the flowers cool, put a plastic bag over
them loosely as they sit in a vase of water and place them in the refrigerator.
Handle edible flowers gently, petals bruise easily and they
can tear or bend. Don’t pick the
flowers longer than a few hours before they will be used or eaten. Flowers can be washed by filling a bowl with
cool water and gently swishing the flowers in it. They should be allowed to air dry before use.
Nasturtium is edible
In most cases the stems and even the sepals- the green
leaf-like structures on the back of some flowers are removed before preparing
them for eating. Scissors or a small knife is used for this. Some flowers need
the sepals to hold them together and in some flowers the sepals look just like
petals. If the flowers need to be poked
into a cake or other item for decoration a toothpick is generally used through
the back of the flower. In some
elaborate flower decorating schemes the stems of flowers are inserted into tiny
tube-like vases that florists use, which are then inserted into the food.
There are several ways to use edible flowers. One is to simply lay them on a plate or food
item as a garnish. Most people won’t eat
these flowers, but you should still use safe, known to be edible flowers. Some edible flowers are incorporated into
salads, for color and flavor. Some are
candied, by dipping them in coatings of sugar water. Some may be stir fried or stuffed with
fillings for beautiful edibles. Some are
even battered and fried, like squash blossoms.
And many flowers can be used in herbal teas, dried or fresh.
An interesting way to use flowers is to soften some butter
and thoroughly mix some colorful petals of edible flowers into it. Use a ratio of a 1/4 cup or stick of butter
to a 1/4 cup of petals. Let the mixture
sit in the refrigerator for a few days to blend the flavors. Flowers from herbs
like chives and rosemary, or rose or violet petals are good choices.