Who knew that a flower was edible? If you think about it, however, most of the vegetables you eat come from flowering plants, and of course herbs can be categorized as flowers. I am sure some of you have been to a wedding where the cake was decorated with amazing beautiful flowers but didn’t realize they were just as edible as the cake.  Well, at least some of them.  My mother, who very much enjoyed planting flowers and a garden, never indicated that you could eat certain ones. I do remember a mint plant that grew by the front door and she did show us how to chew on the leaves for a mint flavor and that was fascinating! As a little girl, I would watch my mom plant flowers and it never crossed my mind that you could actually eat them. There are quite a few that you can grow from seed and consume like any vegetable you grow. The incredible edible flower is out there and it is consider one of the garden trends for 2018. Growing flowers to eat and as companion plants in your garden will give you that beautiful, plentiful garden you always dreamed of having one day. Here are five very common edible plants to consider and two, that like me, you would not have guessed were edible.

Pansy/viola

Marigolds

I start with the one that is my all-time favorite. This without a doubt is a beautiful, fragrant flower that gives color and flavor to any salad or dessert. I made a six layer rainbow cake for my daughter’s birthday and garnished it with pansies. I was so excited to present it to her, more for the fresh flowers than for the surprise colors inside! These are great tasting flowers and I tend to grow a lot of these in the garden in the spring and in the fall.

Marigold

One of the easiest flowers to grow and one of the most important as a companion plant to vegetables. They have a strong aroma and will keep certain pest away. They give so much color to a garden that I tend to plant them everywhere. They can be planted in the spring and will last well through the fall. They have a peppery, tangy flavor and can add a zest of golden color to any dish.

Nasturtium

One of the most popular edible flowers. They act as a great companion plant in a vegetable garden as well. They have a sweet flavor with a slight peppery taste. Like the sweet and salty, they are the sweet and peppery. The flowers are a beautiful addition to any dish.

Bachelor’s button

Bachelor’s Button

These add not only beauty to a salad but nutritional value as well. They are easy to grow from seed right in your garden. They have a grassy flavor and a bitter center. The petal usually is the edible part of the flower so avoiding the stamen and the pistil is best.

Sunflower

So you know the seeds are edible, but, did you know that the petals are too? The middle part or the bud can also be steamed just like artichokes, cauliflower and broccoli. I am trying a dwarf variety in the garden this season and will try this one out on the table!

These five are very easy to grow from seed directly in your garden or started indoors for a head start. The important thing to remember is that if you do purchase these flowers in a store you will need to keep in mind that they are treated with chemicals and now are not so edible. But if you sow and grow them yourself, than eat and be merry!

The last two I want to mention are ones that I would not think to try and one I would not dream of growing!

Squash and pumpkin blossoms

Pumpkin blossom

Who knew you could stuff these blossoms just like a stuffed shell! The Italians were known to do this with certain recipes and any of the squash family blossoms can be used. Squash can be hard to cut and can take a while to cook but here is a blossom that is easy to stuff and easy to cook and best of all taste like squash! Next time you look over your pumpkin and squash patch, think about sacrificing one or two of the many pumpkins and squash you will get on a vine and stuff a blossom!

Dandelions

They take over my entire yard in a matter of minutes! They are not my favorite now, but back when I was little they were the most beautiful flower that ever grew. As kids we would delight in picking them as a bouquet for the table in the playhouse or the make believe dish that the dearly loved cat would get whether he liked it or not! When I went off to college I was asked to judge food entries at the local county fair and one of my favorites, to my surprise, was the dandelion wine made by a local colony. Yes, the dandelion is edible and I mean the whole darn thing is! It is packed with loads of nutrients and lots of flavor! Maybe that is why the cat lived so long!

These are just a few of a very long list of incredible edible flowers that you can grow on your own for a healthy harvest. Always check to make sure the flowers you are growing are for consumption. The old saying “everything in moderation” should also remain a factor because overeating on any of these beautiful plants can make you sick. Go plant something pretty and by all means reevaluate the mass population of dandies taking over your yard! They really are fantastic!

Click here for a great dandelion wine recipe if you are curious?

(Please note: If you use fertilizers or pesticides on your yard, find another source for your dandelions. Those of you who use organic methods are fine to consume from your yards.)

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