Food Topic: Edible Flowers
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Some simple edible flowers to grow in our Zone 5 are nasturtiums, calendula (pot marigolds), lemon gem marigolds, lavender, violets, pansies, borage and culinary herb flowers which could include herbs such as basil, marjoram, oregano, dill, chives, coriander, fennel, rosemary, sage, mint.

There are lots of flowers that are edible, but the following is a list of flowers that should be avoided: Buttercup, Delphinium, Foxglove, Geranium (common), Iris, Lupin, Marigold (common), Monkshood, Narcissus, Oleander, Periwinkle, Wisteria

Along with a large variety of culinary herbs, I grow a variety of edible flowers.  Most of the flower boxes in the front of my house are filled with edibles so they are easily accessible when I am preparing meals.  These are some of my favorite:

Calendula-  also known as pot marigold

   -sprinkle the petals over salads- light in flavor, big in color impact
   -comes in a variety of colors
   -easy to grow- 12-18" tall, dead head for a summers worth of blossoms


   -use the entire blossom as a garnish   
   -sunny yellow and white "daisy" looking blossoms
   -easy to grow- 2' plants that need a little support to keep them standing tall

Gem marigolds-  be aware these are not standard marigolds

   -use the entire blossom as a garnish- grassy tasting but fun texture (the frilly leaves look nice alongside, but not in, food)
   -lemon (bright yellow), red, tangerine
   -easy to grow- 12" bushy plants with frilly leaves and an abundance of small, colorful flowers


   -use the entire blossom as a garnish- the fun, round leaves make a nice bed for the flowers as a garnish, also can be stuffed
   -comes in a large variety of colors
   -easy to grow, likes poor soil, some vine- 12" mounding with some trailing branches


   -use the entire blossom as a garnish- great used as a crystallized flower (see recipe below)
   -comes in a wide range of colors
   -easy to grow- small 6" perennial (self seeding) plants



-Flower sugar- layer anise hyssop, lavender, lilac, rose, scented pelargonium or violet flowers with granulated sugar.  Seal the jar and shake well.  Store sugar in a dark place for at least 3 weeks before using.  Flower sugar keeps for up to a year.


-Crystallised flowers- brush the petals of roses, primroses, pansies, lilacs, violets, borage or scented pelargonium thoroughly with well beaten egg white and sprinkle with fine-grained sugar (just process regular sugar in the food processor for a few moments).  Let dry on waxed paper over night before using as a garnish.


-Flower butter- fold basil, chive, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon gem marigold or rosemary into softened butter.  Chill and serve as you would with any savory dish. Flavored butters can easily be frozen for future use.


-Flower vinegar- to add flavor and color to white wine or apple cider vinegar, add basil, chive, dill, fennel, lemon gem marigold, marjoram, nasturtium, seal and let sit in a dark place for 2 weeks.  Strain and the vinegar is ready to use.



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