Edible flowers add colour, flavour and beauty to salads. Plus they’re a great garnish. They’re super easy to grow and also help your garden with pollination. Here are a few common species to get you started.
TYPES OF EDIBLE FLOWERS:
Carnations (Dianthus spp)
These flowers have an old-fashioned sweet clove scent, petals can be trimmed and add to salads and sandwiches.
English Lavendar (L. Angustifoli)
English Lavender has the sweetest fragrance of all lavenders and is the most commonly used in cooking. The flavors will vary… some sweeter, some more lemon like. Shred the flower and add to ice-cream, salads and even casseroles.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) – pictured
This family has delicious spicy flowers, which add a spicy peppery taste to salads or as a garnish.
Pansies (Viola tricolour)
Heartsease, violas and pansies with their pussycat faces are the perfect flowers to decorate your salad. They come in a range of colours, which makes for interesting dishes.
Rose (Rosa spp)
Roses are renown for their delicate perfumes and smooth rosy flavour which add a romantic colour and fragrance to salads and icecream.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
These flowers have a distinct taste of rosemary, their beautiful blue colour makes them a hit as an edible garnish with baked vegetables.
Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium spp)
These flowers come in a range of unmistakable scents such as peppermint, apple, guava and rose. The flowers assume a similar flavor to the fragrance of the leaves.
Other edible flower varieties are Zucchini Flowers, Borage, Chrysanthemum, Chinese Jasmine, Hibiscus, Red Poppy, Mimosa, Violets and Apple Blossom.
USING EDIBLE FLOWERS SAFELY:
1. If unsure what a flower is, don’t eat it – there are many common garden flowers which are toxic to eat. For example, calendulas (marigolds) are OK to eat, but tagetes are also called marigolds and they are toxic.
2. The safest flowers to eat are the ones you have grown yourself, at home, and have used no toxic sprays.
3. Flowers from florists are not a good idea to eat, as the floristry industry uses pesticides.
4. Remove the pistil and stamens from flowers before eating them. The petals are the safest part to eat, and they look best in a salad, too.
5. Wash flowers before eating them, but only pick the flowers just before you want to add them to a salad. If they are looking a bit wilty, dip them into iced water to refresh them.