By Rachel Davis
Flowers are not just for spring dresses and table decoration – they make a great addition to your arsenal of culinary ingredients! One thing to keep in mind before you start eating your flowerbed is to make sure that there are no pesticides on any plant you are planning to eat (organic is best), and to only eat the parts of the flower that you know to be edible.
Growing your own flowers is ideal since you can control how and where they are grown.
Here is a helpful guide to some common (and easy to eat) organic edible flowers from your own garden:
All roses are edible, but only eat their petals. Make sure to cut off the white bit at the base of the petal before eating. The darker colours tend to be more flavorful. Rose petals are great for garnishing and flavouring desserts like ice cream, and also cocktails. They can be dried and turned into tea, and sprinkled on salads for a burst of color.
Definitely a favorite, these flowers (and their leaves) can be eaten right from the garden. They have a spicy, peppery flavour and come in sunset yellows and oranges. Great for decorating salads and garnishing appetizers. The seeds, if pickled, can be used as capers.
The petals can be used to garnish salads, and if dried make a great tea. The flavour is like a cross between citrus and cranberry. Consuming this flower is said to help prevent cholesterol deposits, aid in liver disorders, and contain antioxidant properties.
Pansies are great for decorating salads and desserts (they can be candied for the latter), and make an attractive garnish. The entire flower is edible, and they add an instant burst of colour to any dish. The petals have a mild, grassy and sweet flavor, which is intensified if the flower is eaten as a whole.
Violet is most commonly used in desserts and salads, and as garnishes in drinks and ice cream. Both the leaves and flowers are edible, and can be used candied or fresh. The leaves can be cooked like spinach. The flavor ranges from sweet to slightly sour, so try a few to determine your preference.
While this flower is commonly seen as a weed, the leaves taste great mixed in with salads or boiled in tea, and the young flower bud is delicious when raw or steamed. Young flowers are sweet, while the fully-grown flowers are bitter and not as preferable. The root can be used as a coffee substitute.
This article originally appeared on PowerHouse Growers.