If you’re looking for a unique and flavorful addition to your garden, consider planting edible flowers. Not only do they add a pop of color to your landscape, but they can also expand your culinary horizons. Here are 10 edible flowers that grow well in the Pacific Northwest:
These easy-to-grow plants produce spicy, peppery blooms that are great in salads or as a garnish. Nasturtiums are known for their rich, saturated jewel toned colors. They are often used as companion plants, grown alongside broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to keep pests away.
Also known as pot marigolds, calendulas are hardy plants that produce bright yellow or orange blooms. Both the petals and leaves are edible. Their petals have a slightly bitter taste and can be used in soups, stews, or as a substitute for saffron.
3. Mexican Tarragon
Also known as Texas tarragon and Mexican mint, the leaves of this plant impart a tarragon-like scent with hints of anise. In the kitchen it has become a tarragon substitute. The petite yellow flowers make a lovely addition to a container or herb garden.
Borage is a tall plant that produces blue, star-shaped flowers that are both edible and attractive to pollinators. Its leaves and flowers have a cucumber-like flavor and are great in salads or as a garnish for cocktails. Borage is used as a companion plant and is known to deter tomato hornworms and improve the flavor of nearby tomatoes growing in its vicinity.
Chamomile is a small, delicate flower that produces a mild, apple-like flavor. It’s commonly used in tea blends and can also be used to flavor baked goods. Grown as an annual, chamomile makes a great addition to herb and vegetable gardens, or even integrated into ornamental beds and borders.
6. Squash Blossoms
The blossoms from winter and summer squash are edible. Squash plants have separate male and female flowers and only the female flowers will mature into squash. Once pollination has occurred or if the number of male flowers far exceeds the female flowers, pick the male flowers, and use them in the kitchen. They make a lovely garnish and can even be pan fried. Their flavor is cool and crisp.
While all roses are edible, the flavor is more pronounced in darker varieties and depends on type, color, and soil conditions. The flavor can be reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Their petals can be used to make jams, jellies, and sauces. Toss them into a salad, create a decorative garnish, or muddle them and use them to make herbal teas.
The flowers have a milder flavor than the leaves and can be used in soups and salads. You can break up the flower and sprinkle it over a dish to add a lemony flavor. A perennial herb, thyme is drought resistant once established and grows easily from seed in almost any soil type.
Lavender can be utilized in both sweet and savory dishes. While there are numerous species of lavender some of them have been cultivated for their oil rather than eating. One of the best edible species is English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) with varieties like Hidcote, Munstead, and Lady. The flower buds can be used in preparing your very own Herbes de Provence, an essential component of French and Mediterranean cooking. They can also be used in baked goods and tasty beverages like lavender lemonade!
10. Pansies & Violas:
Pansies and violas come in a range of colors, from purple and white to yellow and orange. Their petals have a mild, sweet flavor and can be used in salads or as a garnish.