Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Edible flowers

We spent part of the day Sunday in Sequim, WA, which has got to be the lavender capital of the west coast, if not the U.S. Who needs Provence when you've got Dungeness Spit? Okay, well, maybe not.

When we got home from our trip from Port Townsend yesterday, we didn't have a whole lot of food in the house and, wanting to eat mostly vegetation after a weekend of eating out, I rummaged around in the garden and concocted a salad of mixed greens, green/red pepper, beans, and leek flowers. Leek flowers you say? Yes, they are edible and taste like a mix between garlic and onion.

Since I'm letting the leeks go to seed, we'll have a bunch more to eat and they are mighty tasty. I haven't had them before and had to search online to make sure they were edible, but I'm glad I took the time. Other edible flowers from your garden that you might like to check out are (some of these are obvious since they are from herbs):
  • basil
  • nasturtium
  • chive
  • dill
  • chamomile
  • hibiscus (this one I didn't know!)
  • lavender
  • marigold
  • rose petals
  • borage
  • dandelion
  • rosemary
  • marjoram
  • fennel (which is good to know since my fennel is starting to flower)
  • honeysuckle
  • day lillies
  • sage
  • squash blossoms
  • violets
  • johnny jump ups
  • yucca

Just make sure you only eat flowers from plants you can readily identify. Of course, my favorite is lavender. You can check out my recipe for Lavender Honey Lemonade if you are looking for a great summer drink! Since we picked a ton of lavender and I have a bunch to harvest from the backyard, we'll be making lavender shortbread and lavender scones here soon.

What's your favorite edible flower?

Related posts:
Lavender honey lemonade
Edible eco-lawnscaping
Plant therapy: aka fruit tree splurge

Related books:
Edible Flowers: From garden to kitchen: growing flowers you can eat
Edible Flowers: Desserts & Drinks
Cooking with Edible Flowers: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin


Green Bean said...

Hm, since I've let my onions go to seed (read: I haven't gotten around to harvesting them yet, darn it!), I guess at least I can eat the flowers.

Heather said...

Absolutely has to be day lillies! Nice crunchy texture, good 'fresh' flavour, and gorgeous colours :-) What more could you ask for? Ours are a rich orangey colour, but they come in yellows and reds, too, and they are all edible. In fact, the whole plant is edible - flowers, leaves, roots, the works. Although the leaves taste like grass and go even yuckier if you cook them - I wouldn't recommend them unless you were short of all other vegetables!

I like the petals in salads, or crystallised on cakes (when I tried to crystallise the whole flowers they collapsed under the weight of the sugar, although I believe it can be done). I often just munch on the whole flowers, too :-)

In our part of the world (Auckland, NZ - temperate climate) they flower year-round. They're called 'day lilies' because the blooms only last for a day, so you're not depriving anyone of their beauty by taking them and eating them - they'd have been dead tomorrow anyway. The good thing is, tomorrow there'll be a whole new crop of flowers!


Chile said...

I like the allium (onion family) flowers. I love the smell of honeysuckle, so I'd probably enjoy those, too.

Don't forget squash blossoms!

Roses and lavender, you can keep. Can't stand the smell nor the taste.

Unknown said...

Honeysuckle and Nasturtium. Yum. Like someone else said, roses and lavender, eh, not so much. Love the smell, just not the taste.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I like Johnny Jump-ups. They're so cheery!

Greenpa said...

Violets! Are like 5 time higher in vitamin C than oranges, etc. Leaves can go in salads, too. Kids go bonkers when they discover you and just pick them and eat them. Usually there's a little taste of nectar; and the fragrance.

Elisabeth said...

Honeysuckle and hibiscus are my favorites. I didn't know yucca is edible! I'll have to try that - it grows wild all over the place where I live.

Robj98168 said...

Nasturtium. Definetly.Peppery, spicey. Well that and Dandelion. Love those dandelion fritters. Squash Blossoms rank up ther too!

Allie said...

I love Sequim! There's an amazing restaurant out there - The Alderwood Bistro - it's all local and sustainable foods. We went there several times when we stayed at Dungeness last summer.

I have a bunch of lavender - will have to try your lemonade recipe.

Anonymous said...

Sage blossoms! Faintly sweet and a hint of honey, and at the end you get a subtle kick of sage. Try with goat cheese, on cheesecake, or sprinkled on top of potato soup.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Sage blossoms! Holy crap, of course! I've got a bunch flowering right now.

Heather - Day lillies sound absolutely fascinating.

Rob - You and your dandelion fritters. I've got a great dandelion bread recipe I'll have to share one of these days.

I'm a rosemary ho. I put it in pretty much everything. But, then again, I like pine needle sorbet, so that probably tells you something.

Everyone - I'll add your faves to the list if that's okay.

Patrice Palmer said...

The edible flowers of the pineapple guava plant are delicious! I look forward to their blooming every year. Great texture and taste.

Erika said...

Like Rob, I love nasturtium flowers - nice and spicy... makes a beautiful and peppery addition to any salad. I also like hibiscus in tea... I've not actually EATEN it, but it makes the best caffeine free tea!


Going Green Mama said...

I haven't really dived into edible flowers too much (try explaining to a toddler why he can't eat the roses...) but I'm seriously considering trying squash flowers from my crazy garden.

Heather, I never considered eating my lilies! Interesting. When do you "harvest" them?

Laurie in Mpls. said...

I had the opportunity to try rosewater lemonade last summer, and wow! Was not prepared to like it as much as I did! :) It does indeed taste just the way roses smell, but the good old fashioned half-wild ones, so not overly sweet. And the lemon helps balance that, too.

Otherwise, I like chive flowers. Speaking of which, I need to deadhead mine and give the plant a little love. I'll have to try daylilies -- I have the sad strip of yard behind my garage on the alley side planted with them because they are tough and require very little attention to survive. (Well, and they really brighten up the place.) They are MANY, so I won't even feel bad about picking them!

My confirmation word is "mortsa". Is that like a Charles Addams type hosta?

Jennifer said...

I like lavender too - as in lavender honey sorbet. I like all sorts of other flowers in salads, BUT my favorite edible flowers are lilacs because you can candy them and thy look amazing on cupcakes.

rbn said...

Arugula! The flowers have a bit of a nutty flavor. I think they taste like pine nuts, but the kids I work with call them the "peanut butter" flowers.

Hank Roberts said...

Ah, Sequim; 35 years ago I was sure I'd retire there. What took you there in particular?

Laura said...

I let some leeks flower this year intending to capture seeds, but I am a novice. Any hints on what to look for? I'm adding the tasty kernals to a salad today. :) Love all the edible flower ideas.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Hank - We were hanging out in Port Townsend for the 4th of July and went out to Sequim to do some u-pick lavendar fun. We were going to do some painting of the fields while we were at it, but we didn't have time.

Laura - I really don't know myself. Just look for seeds :) And I ate the flowers.