Flowers as Food. What's on Your Plate?

The rosemary is in bloom with hundreds of tiny, blue flowers. Passing by, I can't resist picking a few to eat. The taste is sweet and refreshing. Yes, rosemary flowers are edible and a favorite garden snack!

Reading a garden story about edible flowers in the Guardian reminded me not only of the dainty sugar-coated violets on confections in the spring, but also of other edible flowers in my garden—cottage pinks, lavender, marigolds and nasturtiums.

There's an interesting recipe from Jim Long for Stuffed Tomatoes with Marigold that I'm adventurous enough to try.

For my lavender scones, I purchase Provence culinary lavender from a local farm, but I should grow this variety with all the other lavenders in my garden. I cannot easily describe the flavor of lavender, but it's definitely on the menthol side of taste. A local dairy will sometimes feature lavender chocolate and vanilla ice cream!

Be careful in the garden. Allergies aren't a problem for me, but everyone should definitely take precautions. Be sure to thoroughly research any flower before eating the petals. There are many poisonous flowers in the garden. If you have small children, it's probably best not to let them see you munching flowers since they cannot tell the difference between the edible and the poisonous. My garden is organic, so no toxic chemicals are sprayed on my plants.
More information:
Epicurean: Edible Flowers
Recipes for Edible Flowers
Edible Landscaping

Chive blossoms, great on omelets, have such a wonderful flavor and I try to cut those as fresh as possible. The light pink color makes a wonderful, edible garnish on dishes that include chopped chives. This is another flower that I love to nibble while working in the garden.

Although I don't have a veggie garden, squash and zucchini blossoms are often on the menus when visiting France and Italy. These flowers wilt so quickly, magic happens in the kitchens to serve up Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms.

I grow so many herbs for the foliage, but I've not yet tried the edible flowers of oregano, marjoram, sage officinalis, borage, chamomile and basil.

With my renewed interest in edible flowers, I'm ready to try some new recipes this summer. I can imagine the look on my husband's face when I serve him baked potatoes sprinkled with marigold petals! At least he likes spicy foods.

All links provide more information on the topic of edible flowers. Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel.


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