Savvy cooks have been adding edible flowers to dress up meals since 3000BC, so it’s no surprise that the practice continues today and is in fact growing in popularity in households across the globe.
We’ve put together, with some help from our friends at Life’s A Garden, some gorgeous, edible flowers you can harvest from your garden to use to garnish plates and add flavour to meals. Just a word of caution, not all flowers are edible, so be careful when selecting flowers to use in your meals.
- Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium) – these bright coloured flowers will add a tangy, slightly bitter flavour to meals. Wash well and scatter a few petals over salads. The flower base is very bitter so best to only use the petals.
- Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) – these brilliant coloured flowers will add pops of colour to any salad and add a peppery flavour to the dish. These flowers will also look delightful when garnishing platters and sandwiches.
- Fuchsia (Fuchsia X hybrida) – the vivid colours and unusual shape of this flower make it an eye-catching garnish while the mild acidic flavour is the ideal partner for a variety of salads.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – the therapeutic benefits of lavender are no secret, but did you know you can use the soft, coloured lavender flowers as a garnish for an array of baked goods or even dress up your champagne?
When growing edible flowers, it is key that you pay close attention to the usage instructions on the pesticides to avoid possible toxicity. All pesticides have a waiting period between spraying and consuming so be sure to take note of how long you’ll need to wait to enjoy your edible flowers. Remember to rinse them well once picked and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. For maximum moisture and flavour, pick your edible flowers early in the morning.
Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre to view the range of edible flower options and how best to grow them. For more gardening tips and information, visit www.lifeisagarden.co.za