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10 Edible flowers from your garden (some of them might surprise you!)

We love our garden flowers for the colour and beauty they bring to our lives, both outdoors and indoors, but have you ever thought about them having a culinary use?


I recently discovered that Forget me not flowers are edible! So I did a little research to find out which other common garden flowers we can harvest here in the UK. For anyone with a small garden, why not double up some flowers with edible properties that you can eat too?


Here are 10 common garden plants that you can eat!


Carnation

The flowers of carnations can be used in a variety of edible ways. The individual petals can be used as a garnish on cakes, salads and pies. You could also use them to decorate savoury canapes, sorbets, syrups and cocktails.





Dahlias

Did you know that all parts of Dahlia plants are edible?! The tubers of these beautiful flowers can be eaten raw or as a vegetable and have been likened to sweet potato. They were originally introduced to the UK as an edible crop! You can make dahlia crisps, dahlia chips or rostis out of the tubers as well as grating them into cakes like we do with carrots or beetroot. Dahlia tubers can be chopped or shredded and added to salads our soups. Who would have thought it?! So if your tubers are getting too big for their beds and you're running out of room, get chopping!

Accordingin to James Wong, the roots are also high in inulin, a sweet tasting, low calorie carbohydrate that can boost friendly gut bacteria.

You can even eat the flowers - a cake decorated in these petals would look pretty spectacular.


Daisies

If I had known as a child that these humble flowers that pop up in our lawn are edible I would have been chomping these all the time!


They are full of vitamin C and have been used medicinally in the past for infections including respiratory tract (including coughs, colds, catarrh, bronchitis and sinusitis).

Yarrow and pineapple weed are also edible plants in the daisy family.




Dandelion

The dandelion is a great pollinator for bees in springtime, but the whole plant has benefits for us humans too. The only inedible part is the stem which contains a bitter, milky substance. Add flowers to pancakes, biscuits or fritters, or make dandelion jelly or wine. Apparently dandelion jelly has a mild honey flavour.

The young leaves are best harvested before the plant flowers but they can be eaten all year round in salads, in place of chives, or as a spinach substitute. They contain vitamin A and vitamin C. They also contain sodium so you can use it as a flavouring instead of salt.

The roots can be added to soups and stews (boil for 10/20 minutes to get rid of bitterness). They can also be used to make a tea or coffee which is full of nutrients and caffeine free.


Forget me not

Common forget me nots, or Myosotis sylvatica have pretty pale blue flowers with yellow centres and these are edible! You can only eat the flowers, but they look really attractive in salads and as a decoration on baked items. You can also freeze them and candy them.





Hollyhock

Hollyhock plants are completely edible - not just the flowers but also the leaves roots and seeds. As well as being edible it can be used in natural skin care remedies. Hollyhock flowers, leaves and roots can reduce pain and inflammation and can be used to make a cold infused tea to soothe the respiratory tract, sore throat, dry cough, stomach issues and urinary tract imflammation.






Nasturtium

Not just the pretty flowers of this plant are edible but the whole plant. There are many recipes that can be made from nasturtiums such as pesto, nasturtium capers and nasturtium butter - you can even add the leaves to bread dough to make green bread. The flowers, however make quite a statement in a salad, or mix them with a fruit to make jelly.




Pansies

Pansy flowers have a mild flavour similar to some types of lettuce. You can sprinkle the petals over a salad for a pretty finish, candy them them, or make them into delightful garden inspired ice cubes. Pansies are a beautiful and colourful decoration for sweet cakes and biscuits.



Primroses

These pretty flowers can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable (although cooking those attractive flowers would seem a shame). They can also be used in a range of other culinary products such as conserves, mousses, tarts, desserts and other sweet dishes.

The leaves have a slightly spicy flavour and can be used as a salad leaf or decoration on cakes.



Sunflower

We all know you can eat the seeds of sunflowers, but it surprised me to know that they are entirely edible. The roots, sprouts, stalks, buds and flowers can all be used for a variety of recipes.

The flowers themselves can be used to make a pretty garnish as well as in salads. They add not just a bright dash of colour, but their bittersweet taste can complement sweet flavours in your recipe.







Disclaimer:

Always double check what you're eating before you eat it. Make sure all these plants are grown organically and are free from pesticides. Check with a doctor or specialist to make sure these will have no adverse effects, and if in doubt - don't eat them.






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