Edible Flowers from Your Garden
Flowers are colorful, fragrant and beautiful and attract beneficial insects.
But many are also edible and very tasty.
Edible flowers can be added to salads, desserts, used to make teas, to flavour oils and dressings – staffed, fried and baked.
Blue sage flowers have similar aroma of the leaf, but softer and sweeter: perfect to sprinkle over green peas. Orange nasturtiums flowers have peppery flavor and will spice up any salad.
Many edible flowers are high in vitamins and minerals and have many medicinal benefits.
When collecting flowers for eating, keep the following in mind:
- Never use pesticides or insecticides on flowers that you are going to eat.
- Never harvest flowers growing by the roadside.
- Make sure you identify the flower correctly. When in doubt – don’t eat it.
- Pick flowers and buds in the morning, for the most intense color and flavor.
- Generally – use only the petals.
Smaller flowers in clusters like fennel, dill and allium can be used whole.
Here is a mediterranean edible flowers list that grow in our forest garden:
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
A wonderful edible flower from the daisy family.
Also known as Poor Man’s Saffron because its sharp taste resembles saffron.
We sprinkle the petals (the only part that is edible) in soups, roasted vegetables and salads, but they can be used in pasta, rice, scrambled eggs and herb butter.
Its medicinal properties are known to treat menstrual cramps, sore throat, cancer, ulcers, measles, smallpox and jaundice.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
This is our favorite edible flower.
It grows in our forest garden in varieties of sunset colors with a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress.
We use the entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, and savory appetizers or stir fry.
Nasturtium contains 130 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams — and 45 milligrams of lutein, which is the highest amount found in any edible plant. Lutein is anti-inflammatory and known to protect against eye disorders, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Honeysuckle flowers have a honey flavor and we love them mainly in salads.
To alleviate headache – brew honeysuckle tea using the buds and flowers.
Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium species)
The flavor of the scented geranium flower generally corresponds to the variety… citrusy, spicy, fruity or flowery.
Our favorite is the lemon-scented geranium with its lemon-scented flowers.
We sprinkle these edible flowers over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice cubes.
Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)
The white Yucca flower petals are crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (it has a hint of artichoke to it).
We use them in salads and as a garnish.
Chives, garlic, leeks, onions and shallots – all have edible flowers.
The flowers have a stronger flavor than the leaves and the young seed-heads are even stronger.
We eat the flowers and seed-heads mainly in salads or omelettes.
All alliums contain chemical compounds which have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and cholesterol lowering properties.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Depending on the type, the flowers are either white, pink, or purple. The flavor of the basil flower is milder, but similar to the leaves of the same plant.
We sprinkle them over salad and to flavor olive oil (blending olive oil and basil flowers and pouring over fresh tomato salad).
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage edible flowers have a subtler sage taste than the leaves and can be used in salads and as a garnish.
We use the blue/purple flowers with beans, corn dishes, sauteed or stuffed mushrooms, or pesto sauce.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, with a hint of lemon.
Flowers look beautiful and taste good in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams.
We use lavender mainly to flavor teas and salad dressings.
(Lavender is also one of our favorite mediterranean bee plants)
Courgette, Pumpkin and Squash (Cucurbita cvs)
These delicious edible flowers can be eaten raw, on pizza, in a tomato sauce, battered and fried, stuffed with cooked rice, cheese, nuts or meat or used to make a delicious soup.
Use male flowers once the females are pollinated so you don’t reduce your yield.
I’d love to learn from you…
What mediterranean edible flowers grow in your own garden or food forest.