Eat… flowers… what?!
Yes! There are many edible flowers that make delicious, flavourful, nutritious and PRETTY additions to your meals. Plus, they’re wildly easy to grow, AND attract pollinators (bees, butterflies, hummingbirds…), which we NEED in order to grow vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, squash etc.
There are so many to choose from, but I’ve come up with my personal top 6, which are all quite easy to grow organically from seed.
A Quick Safety Note, Justtttt In Case:
Before you consume just any flower, take heed of these guidelines:
- Eat flowers only when you are positive that they are edible. Some flowers look VERY similar. Be sure to have a positive ID first. If you grew them yourself, this is basically fool-proof.
- Only eat flowers that were grown organically. Many plants you purchase from retailers have been sprayed with pesticides. Especially the ones that look REALLY nice. Do not eat roadside flowers or those picked in public parks. Both may have been treated with pesticide or herbicide, and roadside flowers may be polluted by car exhaust.
- For most flowers, only consume the petals (exceptions do apply).
If in doubt that the flower is edible, play it safe and skip it.
Eat flowers you know to be consumable — if you are uncertain, consult a reference book on edible flowers and plants.
Eat flowers you have grown yourself, or know to be safe for consumption. Flowers from the florist or nursery have probably been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
- If you suffer from allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually, as they may exacerbate allergies.
- To keep flowers fresh, place them on moist paper towels and refrigerate in an airtight container. Some will last up to 10 days this way. Ice water can revitalize limp flowers.
6 Edible Flowers You NEED in Your Garden:
Annual. This is a popular edible flower that takes well to containers. Nasturtiums are available in trailing or upright varieties and their colour range is primarily reminiscent of a brilliant sunset. The cool thing about nasturtiums is that all parts of a nasturtium are edible: petals, leaves, and seeds. They have a peppery, spicy flavor; a cross between watercress and a radish. When the flowers go to seed, the seed pod is a marvel of sweet and spicy. You can stuff flowers, add leaves to salads, pickle buds like capers, and garnish to your heart’s content.
Annual. Not much flavour here, but zinnias are a “cut and come again” flower, meaning that the more you harvest them, the more they grow back and produce more flowers, so experiment! Use the petals (remove the seeds) for a beautiful, colourful addition to salads, summer drinks or desserts.
Perennial. This tough ornamental is a favorite in landscapes because it is a prolific and ornamental bloomer. Daylilies come in numerous shades of yellow, red, orange, purple and white. They have a mild vegetable flavor similar to asparagus. Remove the bitter white base of the bloom before you eat them. Also please be sure that you are tasting a daylily (hemerocallis), as other lilies can be toxic and can make you quite sick.
4. Squash Blossoms
Annual. The blooms of all types of squash are edible, but the most popular ones come from the male flower of the zucchini and crookneck squash. The blooms have a mild squash taste and can be eaten raw in a salad or stuffed with ricotta and baked.
Perennial. Marigolds are eaten as petals or leaves, raw or blanched, fresh or dry, sweet or savory. Flavours range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as “Poor Mans Saffron”) To prepare marigolds: Pull entire petals from the stem, and as you hold them firmly in your hand, with scissors cut off the white (or pale greenish) “heels,” as this could give a bitter taste if not removed.
So go crrrray cray, have some fun, and add some flowers to your garden and your diet this summer! Be well.
New to the garden world? Check out my beginner’s guide to growing your own food!
She is here to preach what she practices and help you to prepare amazing whole food meals from scratch, grow your own organic food and optimize your lifestyle and environment to promote the most vibrant, glowing and energetic you.
Laura is currently based in Dundas, Ontario, Canada but works remotely with people from all over the world!
Latest posts by Laura Franklin, CNP, CFMHC (see all)
- IG: There is literally nothing like garden-to-table, organic vegetables 🙌🏼At this time in the season we’ve got a constant supply of sweet tomatoes, bell & hot peppers, zucchini, beans, onions, baby potatoes, kale, beets, Swiss chard, carrots and cucamelons (plus all the herbs) and are patiently awaiting the maturing of our Brussel’s sprouts, honeynut squash, celery, round 2 of Napa cabbage and more— celery is almost ready to harvest and I’ll be planting another round of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce & pak choy seedlings in its place to head into Fall.I’ll also toss some spinach and arugula seeds in there somewhere, cuzzzz just like early spring, its about to be time for cold weather veggies to thrive!I must say, it’s amazing how much produce I’m able to harvest from seven 4×8’ raised beds and one 4×10’ community bed plot.❤️To be able to grow my food without the Toronto backyard wildlife (raccoons and squirrels mostly) constantly destroying everything, too, is SUCH a blessing!What’s your favorite vegetable to grow and eat? - August 24, 2019
- IG: 💩So I sent my poop off to Georgia last week…Via this— the GI-MAP.💩The GI-MAP is a diagnostic test that uses a sample of your poop to provide SO MUCH information about what’s going on in your gut.And that’s important, because—YOUR GUT HEALTH IS A HUGE FACTOR IN YOUR OVERALL HEALTH and is rooted in all sorts of ailments from anxiety & depression (mental health), to skin issues, to immune system function to obesity to diabetes to fatigue to thyroid disorders to chronic pain to… you name it, and your gut probably has something to do with it!💩Many of us actually have what we call “stealth infections” that often make us “mysteriously” unwell or seriously lower our quality of life or ability to perform at a high level. Most of the time, these are not detected by conventional medical tests from your doctor or a specialist 👎🏼.💩Back in 2017, after searching for answers as to why I was perpetually covered in painfully itchy eczema, couldn’t digest anything no matter how clean I ate, was chronically exhausted and depressed (plus more), I came across functional medicine and sent in my GI-MAP.💩The GI-MAP finally gave me the answers I searched years for. I, too, had stealth infections (bacterial and parasitic), imbalances in gut bacteria, high levels of inflammation in my gut, was highly reactive to gluten, and had a barely functioning immune system (there was more, but these are the big guys I remember).💩With this new information, @drnavazhabib devised a functional medicine plan to eradicate the nasties and address my imbalances and deficiencies.💩And within about 6 months, I was a completely new person in a body that was actually working 🙌🏼💩So now, as I send off my third GI-MAP test (now as an annual preventative healthcare regime), I reflect upon just how powerful functional medicine and this simple little test is, and why I went back to school to become involved in such a life-changing field🙌🏼💩If you, or anyone you know could use some help finding answers as to what’s holding back your health or preventing you from being the high performer you want to be, shoot me a message.Your poop tells it all😘• - August 20, 2019
- IG: I LOVE SUMMER! Had so much fun making this summer harvest salad for a friends’ bbq yesterday 🤩At its simplest, it’s a roasted rainbow beet salad with fresh sweet peaches, cherry tomatoes, burata cheese and a simple pesto drizzle….but I decided to take it up a notch and add a base of local beefsteak tomato slices, a handful of arugula, baby purple and green basil leaves and then nasturtium flowers, which are of course, edible and add a delightful peppery zing 🙌🏼I topped this off right before we ate with herb candied walnuts (walnuts candied in organic maple syrup with a pinch of holy basil/tulsi from the garden) and a simple pesto drizzle (fresh basil leaves, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and Him salt puréed in my Vitamix).I grew the beets, the basil, the cherry tomatoes, the tulsi and the flowers.It was a hit, as delicious as it was pretty, and something I’d definitely make again!How are you enjoying the locally harvested delights right now? - August 12, 2019