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    edible flowers

    Growing Edible Flowers

    Benjamin Kilbride, Editorial Assistant at The Old Farmer’s Almanac 

    Add flowers full of flavor as well as color to your garden for an edible bouquet.

    What Are Edible Flowers?

    Edible flowers, some wild and some homegrown, are safe for humans to eat. They can taste fragrant, spicy, or sweet, depending on the type of flower.

    Why Grow Edible Flowers?

    Edible flowers can add beauty and color to your vegetable garden as well as your plate. Also, you may already be growing flowers that can be harvested—get the most out of your garden.

    Common Edible Flowers

    Borage

    The blue, star-shape blossoms of borage taste fresh and somewhat like a cucumber. Float them on top of carbonated drinks or add as a garnish to summer salads.

    Nasturtium

    One of the most commonly known edible flowers, nasturtiums have a mild spicy flavor and juicy texture. Mix them into salads or eat them fresh off the vine.

    Lavender

    The blossoms of lavender taste similar to how they smell: sweet and fragrant, with a slight perfume flavor. Spread the flowers creatively over a chocolate cake or apple crisp and vanilla ice cream.

    Zucchini

    The male flowers on zucchini plants often go to waste—after the female flowers are pollinated, the males can be harvested for a slightly sweet treat that’s good on pizzas or in salads 

    Hibiscus

    The petals of hibiscus flowers taste sweet and tart, similar to cranberries. Line the edges of salads with these blooms or eat them fresh.

    Pansies

    These spring-blooming flowers have a mild minty flavor, perfect for floating on cold summer drinks or using in fruit salads. 

    Violets

    Ranging in color, violets have small, sweet-tasting blossoms great for eating fresh or turning into candy violets.

    Harvesting Flowers

    Pick flowers in the morning or late evening, when the air is cooler and blossoms are filled with water. If you have allergies, remove the pistils and stamens from the harvested flowers before eating. Avoid using pesticides or herbicides on or near edible flowers.

    Recipe From the Harvest

    Violet Infusion Jelly

    INGREDIENTS

    3-1/3 cups distilled water

    3 cups violet flowers, stems removed

    1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered pectin

    4 cups sugar 

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Place the flowers in a jar. Boil the water and pour over the flowers. Let steep for 24 hours.

    Strain the infusion through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow the liquid to drain fully without pressing the blossoms. (Pressing will make the jelly cloudy.) Discard the blossoms. In a large saucepan, combine the violet infusion and pectin and bring to a full rolling boil. Add the sugar and stir well. Bring back to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off the foam. Ladle into 1/2-pint jars, seal with lids, and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.

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