Add a touch of elegance by brightening up your salads or garnishing your meals with some edible flowers. And it’s not all about their appearance, some of them also taste blooming delicious.
But before you get stuck in, it’s worth noting that not all flowers are edible. Care should be taken. Just because you’ve seen glorious, glossy pictures of delightful looking meals on Instagram, bestrewn with arrays of blossoms, doesn’t mean that the flowers shown should be eaten.
Most flowering plants have been grown to look nice, not for human consumption. By choosing plants grown for their edible flowers, or by growing suitable plants from seed, you can be sure that they are fine to eat.
Top Edible Flowers
Borage: Delicate small, star-shaped blue flowers that melt in your mouth. Can be candied and used as decoration on cakes, or used as a garnish. The leaves are great when crushed and used in a gin and tonic.
Calendula: Despite being known as poor man’s saffron, they are well worth a try. They’re easy to grow and use. Only use the petals, which have a tangy, mildly bitter taste. Great addition to salads and as a garnish.
Nasturtium: Easy to grow and comes in an array of gorgeous colours. Both the leaves and the flowers have a slightly hot, peppery taste, great for adding a slight kick to your salads.
Pansy, viola and heartsease: Available in heaps of colours, and while the taste is subtle, they provide a slightly aromatic and attractive addition to any salad.
Pineapple sage: The leaves smell like pineapple lumps and the flowers are sweet and great in fruit salads.
Other edible flowers worth trying include: chives, dianthus, anise hyssop, lavender, roses, sage and zucchini flowers.
Words: Billy Aiken
Kings Plant Barn — 0800 plants — kings.co.nz