If you have a small garden you might not want to give over any of your space to vegetables. So you make the tradeoff, deciding to keep beautiful flowers instead of edible plants. However, did you know a number of flowering ornamental plants are both safe and tasty to eat?
- Elderflower blossoms can be used to make a delicious cordial, or can used in the brewing of elderflower wine. Any flowers that are left will become elderberries, which can be added to apple pies or used in preserves.
- Pansy flowers are tart and tasty, and go well with pine nuts.
- Jasmine flowers make a popular tea with a delicate fragrance.
- Calendula flowers are bright yellow-orange and a range of flavors from spicy to tangy to bitter to peppery.
You don’t just have to restrict yourself to flowers; some flowering plants have very tasty leaves as well.
- Violets and Nasturtiums both have edible flowers and leaves. Nasturtiums have a nutty or spicy flavor to them, which makes them popular in salads, while violets are more of a sweet taste and are often candied for use in cake decoration.
- Chives grow beautiful purple spheres of flowers and make a great edging plant. Both flowers and leaves are wonderful in sandwiches, mashed potatoes or in a garnish.
If dandelions or nettles pop up in your garden then don’t despair. These weeds can make a delightful lunch. Young dandelion leaves are a welcome addition to salads. Young nettles can be steamed or boiled to prevent stinging and make an excellent soup.
For plants that serve a double purpose, consider planting beautiful flowers that produce edible seeds.
- Sunflowers make a striking addition to any garden due to their bright color and large size. If you choose varieties that are also known for their seed production you can harvest your own sunflower seeds when the flower reaches the end of its life. You may have to fight off the local birds to get at them, though.
- Poppy seeds make any home-baked bread taste delightful, so harvest your seed-pods from you pretty poppies.
If you want edible plants in your garden you don’t need to think of elaborate vegetable patch construction programs. Though these plants are all cunningly disguised as ornamental varieties, they are actually both edible and tasty. Serving up a salad of flowers will make your dinner party one to remember.
NOTE: Never eat any plant if you are not certain of its identity and safety. It is always better to be overly cautious than to eat something unsafe. Do not eat flowers on which you or someone else has used pesticides.