I love everything about flowers and was so excited this year to find a beautiful Edible Beauty Mix of seeds from Botanical Interests.
As well as being a stunningly beautiful arrangement, this annual and perennial mix is entirely edible! They are in bright colors of orange, blue, yellow, and pink, you'll not only enjoy their color all season, but also the many ways you can use them. There is a range of flavors from these flowers, from peppery calendula to clove-like bachelor's button, and the light wintergreen flavor of johnny-jump-ups. Add these beautiful blossoms to salads, soups, cooked dishes, make herb butter, add to vinegar, flavored drinks, and even add to ice cubes. The culinary possibilities are endless!
Here are a few of my favorite edible flowers:
Bachelor's Button Centaurea cyanus
These flowers have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor. Flowers can be used dried or freshly cut, while the edible petals make a colorful garnish on salads, open-faced sandwiches, casseroles, decorating cakes and cheese plates.
Borage Borago officinalis
The beautiful violet-blue has a slight flavor similar to cucumber. Use the beautiful flowers on salads, freeze in ice cubes, garnish cold summer soups, cakes, muffins, or add to ice cubes and drinks. The dried petals also make a healing infusion used in aromatherapy blending.
Calendula Calendula officinalis
These petals have golden-orange hues with a spicy flavor. Sprinkle them onto egg dishes, casseroles, pasta or rice dishes, baked goods, herbed butter, salads, or sandwiches. Only the petals are edible. The dried petals also make a healing infusion used in aromatherapy blending.
Johnny-Jump-Up Viola tricolor
Beautiful purple, yellow, and white blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor. Add these flowers to salads, soups, cooked dishes, cakes, soft cheese dishes, herb butter, added to vinegar, ice cubes, and flavored drinks.
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. These flowers add a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Use the entire flower as a beautiful edible garnish to salads, open-faced sandwiches, cooked dishes, cakes, and appetizer platters.
Quick tips for preparing edible flowers:
Harvest in the morning for longest-lasting blooms.
Look for and remove any insects hiding in the blossoms.
Gently rinse the flowers.
Choose flowers that are free from chemicals, like one's you grew from seed. Purchased plants may have had long-lasting chemicals applied to them.
The green sepals that hold the flower together at the base of the flower can be bitter, so consider removing this part, depending on how you will be using the flowers. Removing the sepal can leave you with a palm of petals, rather than a flower.
If you aren't using the flowers right away, cut enough stem to place them in a cup or vase of water or place the blooms in a covered container in the refrigerator.
If you do not have an outdoor garden consider planting flower pots indoors, or on a deck.
Indoor gardens can bring you fresh herbs to brighten your day and for everyday recipes, even in harsh weather. Below are some tips on the best growing conditions and ideas for herb garden collections.
How to grow an indoor herb garden:
CONTAINERS & SOIL: Consider a larger container so you can grow a few different herbs together. Make sure all the varieties in the container have the same water requirements. The container should also have drainage holes in the bottom and a saucer underneath to catch the excess water. Fill the planter with high-quality organic soil that is sterile, free of large particles and weed seeds. This gives the herbs good drainage and aeration while also holding adequate moisture and nutrients. Thoroughly pre-moisten the media with warm water before you sow your seeds.
SOWING: Use the seed packet directions to sow the seeds into the pre-moistened media then cover the containers with clear plastic wrap to retain consistent moisture. Check on them daily for signs of growth, and if the media is still moist. When seedlings have germinated, remove the plastic.
WATERING: Keep the media evenly moist. Once plants are established, allow the soil to dry slightly between watering.
LIGHT & ENVIRONMENT: Because herbs need at least six hours of sunlight per day, they prefer a sunny south or west-facing direction. As plants grow, adjust the height of the lights and rotate the planter, so they grow evenly. To really get your herbs growing, keep the room temperature between 65º–75ºF.
FERTILIZER: Many of the commercial growing soil contains a slow-release fertilizer, so you don't need to add anything to get started. After the first month, you can add a water-soluble fertilizer every other week. You can generally use a lower amount of fertilizer than the manufacturer's directions.
Enjoy your edible blossoms!
Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus) picture; found on https://www.mydirtygardener.com/products/0z-sx6i-y5so; Retrieved July 3, 2019.
Borage (Borago officinalis) picture; purchased from Shutterstock; https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/borage-flower-356593193?src=_au8wxyEOt_u0NcFg9J0OA-1-11; Retrieved September 28, 2018.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) picture; free for commercial use; CCO Creative Commons; found on Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/en/marigold-calendula-officinalis-2666877; Retrieved September 25, 2018.
Johnny-Jump-Up Viola tricolor picture; https://underthesunseeds.com/products/viola-johnny-jump-up-flower-seeds-viola-tricolor-200-seeds; Retrieved July 3, 2019.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) picture; free for commercial use; CCO Creative Commons; found on Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/photos/cress-nasturtium-carbine-greenhouse-1425726/; Retrieved July 3, 2019.