In the past, you knew you were eating in a smart restaurant when your dessert plate was decorated with flowers. I admired them but rarely ate them. However, in recent years I’ve enjoyed baking with lavender and of course thrown some bright nasturtiums into my salads with a flourish. So although this isn’t strictly a seasonal recipe, I thought you might like to think ahead about using some of the flowers in your garden to eat as well as admire.. but of course, exercise caution and check that they are truly edible.
The nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is the perfect edible plant – the flowers, leaves, stems are all edible. They are incredibly easy and cheap to grow from seed, thrive in poor soil, and can be grown in pots and window boxes if space is limited. They contain Vitamin C and iron. They have a slightly peppery taste and are good in salads – or in place of salad greens, as in this seafood starter above.
Violas have been used for years for cake decorating, especially wedding cakes. They have a mild flavour so you can use the petals to adorn desserts like ice cream and melon,above – their bright colours add flair to an ordinary dessert. Or you can use them to decorate hors d’oeuvres.
Tulips are not just beautiful they are edible too. They have a peppery crunchy flavour with the more fragrant ones imparting a floral note too. They’ll add a little panache when mixed with salad leaves.
Petals filled with houmous make an unusual starter.
Lavender sugar, added to biscuits, lavender shortbread and much more … I’ll be cooking with lavender later in the season.
There are many edible flowers growing in your flower borders, veg patch or herb garden – courgette and runner bean flowers, chive flowers, marigolds, roses.
There are those too which are most definitely not edible, so do check first, before you experiment.
So enjoy the beauty and the flavour of these dual purpose flowers.
(All photography mine; feel free to use any of Jardin’s images but please credit and link back)