Beautiful and tasty – edible flowers for your garden and plate

Flowers can bring beauty to your garden as well your food. They’re a great companion for vegetable and fruit plants in the garden, because they provide pollen and nectar to pollinators. Many flowers also make for delicate garnish on food and desserts, as long as you make sure to choose edible flowers and beware of bitter or even poisonous ones.

Most edible flowers are easily grown from seeds, either directly in soil or in pots. Fill the pots with soil, drop a few seeds in the middle and cover them lightly. Calendula is an easy flower to start with and grows nicely in container gardens and flower beds. If you don’t have much space, just a few pots will make a big difference. Geranium, viola and tagetes make a nice combination that all fit in one container.

Water the plants regularly and avoid using pesticides. It’s best to grow all edible plants, including flowers, organically. If you discover pests, pick them off manually if possible. 

Pick the flowers in the morning after the dew has dried a bit, but the sun hasn’t dried the petals yet. Fiskars scissors and herb scissors are perfect tools to snip the stems with. Gently check the blooms for insects and clean off any dirt. 

Some flowers, like violas, clover and nasturtium, can be eaten whole. Others, like calendula, have bitter flower bases and stems, but tasty petals. Calendula petals can also be used to give a golden hue to rice and other dishes.

Flowers come in a wide variety of flavours. Lavender, calendula and roses are perfect to flavor tea and honey with. Lilac, roses and lavender have delicate flavours suited for scented sugars, cakes and biscuits. For a spicier, peppery taste, try nasturtium or blue spice basil, which are great additions to summery salads. So are the beautiful white flowers of garlic chive, which have a light taste of garlic.

Flowers are not only great for the garden and kitchen, they can be good for the gardeners and chefs as well. This is because many flowers are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, which will make both your garden and your health blossom.