Garden Planning: Edible Flowers

Illustration by  Ashley Barlow.

Illustration by Ashley Barlow.

Edible flowers, oh how you make our hearts sing!!

This year, we've decided to turn our attention to flowers that are not only beautiful but edible and pollinator friendly.

So while you're busy finalizing and tweaking your garden designs, consider adding some of these delicious flora friends into your garden, container or corner of the world.

Here's the round up of our picks for 2015:

  1. Pansy -  full sun, lots of water, good in containers or boarders. Recipe, Pansy Flower Cookies
  2. Dandelion - full/partial sun, probably already grows like weed in your yard. Recipe Dandelion Jelly
  3. Carnation - full sun, well drained soil. Recipe Grilled Peach & Carnation Salad
  4. Chrysanthemum - full early sun, well drained soil, fall bloomer. Recipe Roast Chicken Noodle Chrysanthemum Soup
  5. Violet -  sun with light shade, well drained soil, don't over water. Recipe Old Fashion Sweet Violet Syrup
  6. Lavender - full sun, dry well drained soil, smells amazing. Recipe Lavender Honey
  7. Chamomile - sun with light shade, well drained soil, can spread, good for container. Recipe Chamomile Tea
  8. Nasturtium - full sun, easy to grow, good for containers, boarders & kids. Recipe Nasturtium Stuffed Flowers
  9. Rose - full sun, loamy soil, many varieties, needs pruning. Recipe Rose Petal Sorbet
  10. Allium - full sun, well drained soil, deer resistant, bulb. Recipe Allium Blossom Vinegar
  11. Borage - a personal favorite, full sun to partial shade, long bloom. Recipe Candied Borage Blossoms
  12. Lilac - full sun, any soil type, shurb, hardy, low maintenance. Recipe Lilac Scones With Rhubarb Curd

nasturtiums, Veggies & Bread

I loooove edible flowers.

As a kid, I used to pick honey-suckle with my neighbor Charlie. We'd giggle as the tiny pockets of sweet nectar popped open as we ate them.

Fast forward 25 years and I decided it was time to broaden my horizons with an another popular edible, nasturtiums. I tried 4 varieties this year; Apricot Twist, Empress of India, Jewel of Africa mix and Alaska mix.

Theses flowers and their leaves are peppery, a bit like a radish, so you don't want to use too many or they might take over the flavor of your dish.

Nasturtiums can also be used as a medicine and are packed with Vitamin C. I read somewhere though, that they may not be totally safe for little kids to eat, so if you've got little ones, maybe shy away from giving them a bowl of flowers to munch on.

Now for the recipes!

I didn't really have a plan for what I wanted to make, but I gathered my flowers, veggies, sour-dough, a baguette and a few types of spreads and started experimenting.

Here were my favorite combos of the batch:

Fancy Nasturtium Bruschetta

  • fresh diced cherry tomatoes
  • fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, dash of balsamic vinegar, diced clove of garlic (mix with ingredients above)
  • top bread with the mixture, a few nasturtium and enjoy!

Smashed Avocado & Nasturtium Garlic Toast

  • smash chunk of avocado onto olive oil garlic toast
  • drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, cracked pepper
  • top with nasturtium flowers

Spinach Artichoke, Veggie Nasturtium Toast

  • buy or make spinach artichoke dip, spread thin layer over toast
  • top with broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and nasturtium flowers & leaves 

Here's a pro tip on flower picking:

  • gather the flowers right before you're ready to serve the dish, if they're left out too long they will wilt
    • if you can't avoid this, refrigerate the petals in a container until they're ready for use
  • pick the petite nasturtium leaves, they have a milder flavor and are super cute!
  • if you want to get fancy, try using the giant nasturtium leaves as plate decor, I ended up using one to hold dips and that was a hit!

Send us your favorite edible flower recipes and be sure to Check out our full round up of edible flowers to eat and plant in this year's garden!

Happy eating!!