Edible flowers offer the double benefit of bright colours and delicious flavours. Whether you want to whip up a peppery batch of nasturtium butter, crystallise delicate primrose flowers or drizzle pink chive flower vinegar over your summer salads, we’ve collected some helpful independent content to get you off to a good start. Here’s your expert guide to growing edible flowers for use in the kitchen.
In the meantime, take inspiration from our full range of quality edible flower seeds.
Choose ‘edimentals’ to make the most of your growing space
Have you come across the trending term ‘edimental’? It describes edible plants that are also beautifully ornamental. “No matter what size your outside space is, you can weave in these incredible plants and enjoy a foraging experience in your home,” says Chelsea Flower Show medalist and top garden designer Harry Holding. He recommends plants like bronze fennel, asparagus ferns and Rumex sanguineus (wood dock). Visit him on Insta to learn more about his award winning 2023 Chelsea garden ‘School Food Matters’.
Sow common garden flower seeds for a flavoursome treat
Did you know that cornflowers have a sweet/spicy flavour? Or that young magnolia blossoms are best pickled? There are so many common garden flowers that are edible and delicious if you’re in the know. See the comprehensive checklist compiled by our experts at Thompson & Morgan to make sure you’re picking the right varieties. There’s also an important section on those you should avoid.
Freeze edible flowers to make interesting ice cubes
Showcase easy-to-grow flowers like borage, cornflowers and calendula petals in tiny bubbles of ice. Over at @my_little_allotment, Kirsty Ward and her daughters had fun making these colourful cubes for their summer drinks and fruity cocktails. Along with mint and fresh raspberries, they simply arranged the flowers in ice cube trays before freezing. Follow her on Insta for inspiring fruit, veg and flowers.
Allow chives to flower for a bonus crop
Chives look just as good as they taste! “I am totally obsessed!” says allotmenteer Bethan of @little.welsh.allotment. This experienced grower is fitting as many chives as possible around her fabulous plot for their fantastic flavour and bright purple pompoms. The bees seem to love them too.
Make chive flower vinegar for a colourful condiment
Looking for a new way to enjoy your chive flowers? Try Liz Zorab’s special chive vinegar recipe. Simply fill a jar with the clean flower tops and cover with white vinegar until you’re happy with the flavour, says Liz over at her popular gardening blog Byther Farm. The attractive pink result adds a delicate onion flavour to sauces, marinades and coleslaws. Yum!
Use nasturtium flowers to make an extra special butter
Ever heard of nasturtium butter? It’s the best way to showcase the flavour and colour of nasturtium flowers whilst wowing friends and family with your culinary skills. It’s actually easy to make, says seasonal chef Philippa over at @philippavinecooking. “Just whip up butter and add chopped flowers, seasoning and a splash of fresh lemon juice!” Take a quick peek at her incredible-looking salads too. Filled with edible petals, the striking colours are a real feast for the eyes.
Turn sunflowers into tea, healthy seed butter and garden mulch
Did you know that dried sunflower petals make a delicious brew? Expert urban grower Alessandro Vitale transforms his beautiful sunflower crop into tea, tasty vegan seed butter and handy path mulch. Nothing is wasted with these beautiful blooms! Watch this hugely popular and engaging Instagrammer’s short videos over at @_spicymoustache_ as he shares clever ways to use and preserve home grown produce.
Create natural cake decorations from crystallised primroses
Crystallising flowers keeps them fresh and colourful for up to six months. It’s a great technique to preserve those with a short season like primroses, says gardening goddess Tanya of Lovely Greens. Use the sparkly, sugary crystallised flowers to decorate special desserts, buttercream cupcakes and birthday cakes. With far fewer chemical additives than artificial decorations, they look like they’ve been struck by a magical late frost.
Harness the health benefits of edible flowers
A nepeta flower tea helps with sleepless nights while a cornflower brew relieves congestion in traditional herbal medicine. Over at @mitch_grows, allotment whizz Mitch only grows tasty edible flowers that have extra health-boosting properties on his plot. Calendula, nasturtium and marigolds all earn their spot. Follow him for no-dig wisdom, veggie growing and foraging stories.
Plant edible flowers to keep veggies free from pests
Edible flowers like nasturtium and borage don’t just taste great, they’re useful companion plants too. At the end of June these plants are busy flowering their socks off in Sam Corfield’s enviable mill cottage garden. “Not only are they tasty but they attract slugs, snails, butterflies and caterpillars away from your precious veg,” he explains. Visit @the_hairy_horticulturist for fun tips on growing unusual ingredients to spice up your life.
Grow edible flowers if you’re interested in permaculture
Permaculture is all about output over input, explains Instagrammer and garden designer Jack. Sowing just one edible flower seed can result in a whole flush of flowers that attract beneficial pollinating insects, add beauty and provide seeds for sowing next year. Calendula, dill and sunflowers are some of his favourites. Follow @jacks_patch to keep up to date with progress at his inspirational market garden in London.
We hope we’ve inspired you to grow your own gorgeous edible flowers. We’d love to see how you use your blooms so don’t hesitate to tag us in your creations at Instagram or Twitter. Give our pages a follow to to stay up to date with the latest trends and our favourite new products.
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