There is no doubt that flowers are an essential part of any beautiful garden. Can you eat them too? The answer is YES. Summer salads can be transformed using just a few stunning edible flowers.
A word of warning before we begin: you must be able to correctly identify the plants in your garden before eating any flowers. Many plants and flowers not listed here are poisonous and shouldn’t be consumed.
A few flowers or a handful of petals can transform any salad from bland to stunning. Go to any high end restaurant and you will see they are doing just that. There are a handful of flowers that are ideal for this purpose.
Violas are one of the most visually appealing flowers you can use in salads. Try grow a mixture of colours for maximum effect. They have a lightly floral flavour that isn’t to strong and compliments a salad nicely, even for those who might not be so open minded when eating flowers. You can eat the entire flower whole.
Nasturtiums are what most people first start growing as an edible flower. They are incredibly easy to grow and the flowers are abundant. The taste is quite strong, almost peppery but in the correct quantity can be a fantastic addition. As with violas there are a range of different coloured varieties available all with a different flavour profile.
Courgette flowers are another edible flower ideal for salads. One strong courgette plant can supply all the flowers you need for salads throughout the summer. The flowers are very large and taste very similar to a mild courgette.
Most people have a few Marigold plants in there garden but most people don’t know they are edible. With marigolds it’s important for the flowers to be picked young, once the flowers begin to finish the taste becomes bitter and unattractive. For the best taste eat the petals and discard the stamen.
There are hundreds of other edible flowers but not all are suitable for salads. Flowers are supposed to be an accent to a traditional salad so go lightly with them, a few small flowers or petals is usually plenty. It’s important to also remember that it’s not a good idea to eat flowers sprayed with chemicals, in any case they should be washed before eating.