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The Gardeners Kitchen: Edible Flowers

Updated on May 12, 2011

edible flowers

If you are a gardener and grow flowers you may already be growing some plants that will add flavour and colour to your meals. Edible flowers, for the most part, are fairly simple to grow and can be placed in garden borders or throughout the garden, no matter what you grow.

If you want you can grow most edible flowers in container and place them on your balcony or deck so that are handy at meal time. Mix your favourite herbs with your favourite edibles in both your meals and gardens. Salads are a common use for edible flowers so grow them near or among your salad greens.

I was first introduced to the concept of eating flowers some years back when I went to a small dinner party hosted by a new acquaintance. She maintained an extensive garden and there were a number of rather colour flowers amongst the romaine lettuce.

The salad that night was romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and johnny-jump-ups. I do not remember the flowers as having much taste but their colour was vivid and they made the salad look extraordinary.

Now I am a big fan of the johnny-jump-up or more formally the Viola cornuta (Violaceae). It is a saucy little short lived perennial or hardy annual, it can come back the following season but maybe not where you expect it.

I plant them in most gardens no matter what else is growing. If yo are picking them from your own garden be sure to put them in cool water to flush out any tiny insects, then dry thoroughly, use a salad spinner if you have one and they are a good investment if you do not. Toss them in your green salad for a splash of colour. Johnny-jump-ups and other flowers can also be candied and make a fine party treat.

Remember, before eating a flower, be sure that you know what it is, while there are many edible flowers, not all flowers are edible. It may look beautiful but be deadly. Know what you a are about to put in your mouth.

Another favourite edible flower is borage, the flower adds that rare blue to the garden palette and the somewhat anise like taste of the flower adds an exotic flavour to a salad.

You can place the flower in an ice cube tray add water and freeze to get a colourful cube that brightens a summertime drink.

Get to know the edible flowers and expand your garden and your cuisine at the same time.


courtesy misocrazy-flickr
courtesy misocrazy-flickr


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    The dandelion shouts the warm weather is coming, plus it has so many uses. Thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Samantha Torrence 6 years ago


    I grew up eating edible flowers. Borage, Johnny Jump ups, Roses, Nasturtiums, and many more were in our salads, ice cubes, candied and put on cakes, or just eaten as a snack when walking through the garden. One flower that I didn't find out was wonderful till I was older is the Dandelion. Such a useful little plant, and I personally love it when my yard is full of their color. Thank you for such great articles!