You might be surprised just how many of the flowers in our gardens are edible and now is the perfect time to harvest many of them.* Edible flowers make a fabulous addition to summer dishes and they look so pretty too! Plus, if you plant edible flowers in your garden you will be encouraging in all sorts of beneficial insects and helping our struggling bee population; it's a win win situation! Here are a few of our favourites.
If you have Chives growing in your garden be sure to use the flowers as well as the leaves in your salads, they add a lovely oniony flavour and a splash of subtle colour. This salad was made on our Advanced Vegetarian Diploma course - isn't it beautiful?
Pansies, Violets and Violas are so pretty they usually end up crystallised to decorate cakes and desserts but they have a lovely, delicate flavour all of their own and really shine in a salad! Who could resist these beauties? They certainly inspire some fabulous gourmet cooking when a basket full turns up at the cookery school.
Courgette Flowers are fabulous raw in salads or steamed as a side dish but they really come into their own when they are stuffed, dunked in tempura batter and shallow fried.
Blue Borage is a classic addition to a glass of Pimm's and lemonade but why not marry it with cucumber in a light summer salad or pop it on top of a summery Gazpacho?
Wild chicory grows widely in Britain. Bright blue flowers signal its presence in dry meadows. It used to be a common foraged spring vegetable here, but is now enjoyed mainly by travellers to Italy or Greece where it is common in restaurants. The young leaves should be tender and pleasantly bitter but not unpleasantly so. A really useful addition to your summer flower repertoire!
Lavender flowers are lovely in ice creams, added to summer drinks and homemade jams, baked into biscuits or made into lavender syrup and stirred into cream.
Nasturtiums are real givers - you can eat the leaves, flowers and seeds! The leaves make wonderful edible plates to serve a salad on but you can also whizz them up into a delicious peppery pesto. The flowers look amazing and taste delicious scattered on salads and added to savoury dishes. You can even make Poor Man's Capers using the seed buds once the flowers are over!
*A word of caution, as with all foraging do make sure that you only choose organically grown flowers, free of pesticides and that you are confident that you know what you are picking.
If you are keen to do a bit more foraging do keep an eye on our courses for one of our regular foraging outings! If you are inspired to further your cooking skills and deepen your knowledge why not sign up for one of our Diploma courses?
If you do something fabulous with edible flowers we'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or come and chat to us on social media!