When I think of garden abundance, I often consider edible flowers a part of that abundance. Perhaps that isn’t exactly what comes to mind when the term “garden produce” is mentioned. Tomatoes, corn and beans would be a much more obvious choice.
But for centuries edible flowers have been found in cultures all over the world. They are often found garnishing beautiful dishes and adding color, vibrance and unique flavors. And edible flowers go beyond just beauty. They are practical, too.
Many edible flowers are incredibly nutritious and an excellent source of antioxidants. So here are five edible flowers to consider adding to your plate.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
Nasturtium (pictured above) may be one of the most well known edible flowers in the garden. Nasturtium blooms come in a range of oranges, reds and yellows, and have a peppery taste that really adds something special to a salad.
Not only are the blooms edible, but the leaves are edible as well. Actually, the entire nasturtium plant is edible. You can even harvest the seeds and use them to make capers!
Pansy (Viola tricolor)
Is there a more iconic flower than the pansy? I can’t even recall a spring during my childhood that we didn’t take the time to plant a few of these cheerful blooms out.
But did you realize they are edible? Admittedly, I did not. An entire childhood of wasted flower-snacking opportunities!
These gorgeous flowers are edible, and with their beautiful range of colors, they make the perfect bloom to candy! Candied pansies make beautiful garnishes for bakery items. But if you want to skip the candying step, they also are a wonderful additional pop of color to salads or, really, any dish!
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelions may just seem like a weed in your garden, but the truth is dandelions are actually a tasty snack. Dandelion flowers can easily be used to make teas and jellies. Dandelions can even be used to make dandelion syrup!
As for the greens, even they are edible. Harvest the young leaves, ideally before the plant flowers, and chop them up to add an incredibly nutritious punch to any salad! Just be careful where you harvest your dandelions from. You want to be careful and avoid lawns sprayed with herbicide, insecticide and so forth.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Most people are familiar with chamomile, or at very least chamomile tea. But not everyone realizes that chamomile is a beautiful and delicate flower.
Chamomile flowers have been used medicinally for centuries and are touted for a whole host of medicinal benefits ranging from reducing inflammation to promoting better sleep. Most commonly chamomile is enjoyed as a tea. But chamomile can also be used to make oil infusions and tinctures.
Squash Blossoms (Cucurbita spp.)
Both summer squash and winter squash are delicious vegetables to enjoy from the garden. But not everyone knows that squash blossoms are edible as well!
While both female and male blossoms from squash plants are edible, the female blossom bears fruit while the male blossom pollinates the female blooms. For the best of both worlds and an ample crop of both blooms (as well as squash), harvest predominantly the male blossoms. They are delicious stuffed and fried and make the perfect summer treat.
Overall, all of the above edible flowers on this list are tasty treats. Not only can they elevate your dishes with beautiful garnishes and unique flavors, but they can also be medicinal and packed with nutritional benefits. So get out there and eat flowers!