Fruits, herbs and vegetables aren’t the only things you can eat from your garden. There are plenty of flowers you can eat too. Here are five edible annual flowers that are easy to grow and use—plus they look amazing. Add panache to a plain old dish with these exotic (and not-so-exotic!) edible flowers.
Flowers You Can Eat—Annual Edible Flowers
A cool-season annual, nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) has peppery leaves and flowers you can eat straight from the vine. A gorgeous climber that comes in burning oranges, golds, scarlets and mahoganies, nasturtium is simply one of the most beautiful edible flowers you can find. Add an exotic twist to any dish by sprinkling a few of these lovely blossoms around.
The often-overlooked marigold produces wonderful flowers that have an uncommon flavor that’s both citrusy and herbal. Hardy and forgiving, marigolds are incredibly easy to cultivate, smell wonderful and have a unique flavor that won’t be forgotten. The next time you’re in a garden full of these beauties be sure to have a taste—just be sure that it’s an edible flower variety (like a Gem or French cultivar) and that you pull off the leaves (as they can be bitter). Or, toss this marigold vinaigrette into your favorite salad mix.
Eat Squash Flowers
Towering over the other often hum-drum flowers of the vegetable garden, squash produces bold, big flowers that you can eat. Often used in Mediterranean cooking, these edible flowers have a mild, squash-like flavor themselves and besides being eaten straight off the vine, they can be used in soups and stuffings.
Borage Has Edible Flowers Too
Borage (Borago officinalis, also called starflower), is actually a Mediterranean annual herb but you can eat its flowers too. Quirky and purple, borage’s flowers have a mild, refreshing flavor reminiscent of cucumbers. Borage recipes aren’t hard to find and it’s easy to add the flowers to lemonades, teas and tonics.
Commonly used for calming teas and soothing satchets, chamomile (Chamaemelum noblis) flowers taste a bit like apples and have a sweet, mild flavor. And, while its tea is well-known for its medicinal and holistic qualities, its flowers can be used to make breads and puddings. Yum! Want to find more edible flowers? Check out this list of perennials flowers you can eat.