Flowers are pretty, but beauty is only one reason to plant them. While leaves allow plants to make food and grow, flowers are a plant’s way of advertising for pollinators. Adding a flower bed beside your vegetable patch or planting flowers amongst the vegetables attracts helpful insects to your garden.
These little beauties also make an excellent meal for many species, including us. Eating your flowers isn’t heresy, it’s delicious. So now we’ll talk about munching the flowers.
Calendula and nasturtiums have a delightfully spicy flavour and brilliant colours that will spice up your salads. Sneak these flowers into a grilled cheese sandwich with a bit of arugula, and you have a deluxe lunch time treat.
After your chives have grown and flowered, it’s not the end. Those lovely round blossoms are not only pretty, they’re also edible. They taste a lot like the chives themselves, and they’re intriguing orbs to place in your salad or omelette.
Borage is a fuzzy, bee-attracting plant that grows easily in the garden. Munch on its pink and blue flowers or place them on top of fruit drinks, where they’ll impart a delicate cucumber flavour.
Do you love licorice? Black licorice flavours are abundant in the garden, and Agastache licorice mint is another pollinator-friendly plant that is also edible. Its leaves and flowers have an anise or black licorice flavour.
Then there are the pretty ones: Johnny jump ups and pansies are edible, and they’ve been candied and eaten as delicate desserts for many years. Rose petals and lavender are also delicious, though strongly-flavoured. Not only are they good for potpourri, but they’re the perfect topping for vanilla ice cream.
As we begin to plant our vegetable gardens, plant a few extra squash or zucchini for their flowers. Stuffed with cheese, these giant blooms act as grow-it-yourself burritos.
Of course, not all flowers are edible. As always, make sure that you know your blooms before you enjoy a bouquet at your next meal. Adding flowers to your food might seem unorthodox, but you already eat roots, leaves, and stems. This year, ask your flower garden to do double duty and your taste buds will thank you.