A couple weeks ago, a friend posted a video of her toddler son gleefully admitting, “I ate flower!” And then, “Whole thing.” His older sister chimes in, “He really did!” We tend to regard the plants in our neighborhood as off limits in terms of edibility. But there are so many edible flowers out there – including the dandelions that this little guy ate – and they are starting to go off. Yes picking up a dandelion from the park and putting it in your mouth isn’t really the best practice, but they are edible and they used to be considered a valuable food resource. Young dandelion greens were regarded as a spring tonic, full of much-needed vitamins and minerals after the resource-scarce winters of olden days.
The flowers of fruits, plants, and herbs that we know well tend to carry a faint whiff of their familiar relatives. For instance, rosemary blossoms do taste like rosemary, and fruit blossoms have a little bit of sweetness that hints at their future selves. Flowers add color and visual interest to our food, and that makes it more fun to eat. Right? I think so.
Here are some of my faves emerging in neighborhoods and at farmers markets right now:
1: Pea blossoms: Scrambles, salads.
2: Chive Blossoms: Anywhere savory where you’d like a chive/onion flavor.
3: Kale Blossoms. All the brassicas are going off right now. Try broccoli blossoms too! Salads!
4: Rosemary (lavender) and Miner’s Lettuce flowers: Lovely addition to salads; Herb blossoms will be great on desserts
5: Salmon Berry flowers! Desserts, salads!
6: Wild Onion: Like chive, salads, eggs, and anything savory where an onion flavor is welcome!
7: Delicate Yellow Violet: Desserts, fancy drinks, salads!
8: Arugula Blooms: Salads and veggies and pizzas.
9: Wild Sweet Rocket. Found these in the woods near my house. Lots of wild mustard-type plants are popping up right now.
What to make and eat with your flowers? I got some ideas:
Breakfast Sweet Potato, WHAT
And check out this amazing Pinterest board chock full of recipes incorporating edible flowers. I want to eat flowers all day every day.
Next week, in celebration of all things flower and food, I’ll be sharing a recipe from Lily Diamond’s newly released cookbook.
Please make sure you do your research and/or confirm with a trusted source before eating, as there are some poisonous plants that look similar to edible flowers.
That being said, the process of exploration and discovery, along with the ability to harvest an edible garnish for a meal, is kinda empowering. It’s a delightful way to connect with our local landscape.