From the Vase to the Dinner Plate

Kate McIntyre

Edible flowers are some of the most versatile plants in the whole garden. They both look good and taste good. If you are primarily a vegetable gardener, growing some edible flowers alongside your rows of tomatoes and peppers is a great way to beautify your garden. People who grow only flowers might be surprised by how much fun it is to incorporate something they have grown into their meals.

Tips for Picking Some Tasty Posies

•    Freshness matters and wilted, saggy blooms do not tend to stimulate the appetite. If you are not using your flowers immediately after they are picked, wrap them in a damp paper towel and pop them in the refrigerator to maintain their good looks and taste.

•    Be especially careful when applying fertilizers and pesticides to your garden. Keep harmful chemical products away from any flowers and plants you are considering eating.

•    Make sure that plant varieties in your garden are safe to eat before you chow down. In particular, watch out for edible plants' more sinister cousins. For example, while garden pea blossoms are edible, sweet pea blossoms are poisonous.

Edible Plant Varieties

•    Nasturtiums have fiery red, orange, and yellow blossoms and cool green leaves. The blossoms can add a peppery kick to salads.

•    Chamomile's delicate white and yellow flowers can be dried and steeped to make fresh chamomile tea.

•    Violet blossoms can be sugared for use as an edible decoration on fancy desserts or as a garnish on martinis. To sugar flowers, paint them with egg whites and sprinkle with superfine confectioners' sugar.

No matter what kind of gardener you are, you are sure to enjoy the culinary rewards of growing edible flowers. In fact, maybe you already have a gourmet treat lurking in your flower garden now, ready for dinner tonight.

About the Author
Kate McIntyre is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Oregon State University.


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