I focus most of my gardening efforts on vegetables. That’s what I’m better at growing. For some odd reason, I’ve never been very good with flowers. If you are, you might already be growing edible flowers and not even know it. So I ask the question, Could edible flowers be an undiscovered food source in your survival garden?
My first exposure to edible flowers was some years ago in a Master Gardening class, when one of the participants gave a presentation on her experience with edible flowers. As part of her demonstration, she brought in little cheesecake cups with an edible gem marigold or a nasturtium in each one.
You may already know you can eat fried squash and pumpkin blossoms. Did you know you can eat apple blossoms? Of course, you want to be sure the trees haven’t been sprayed or are near trees that were sprayed. The little flowers of your green bean plants are edible as well. Many herbs have edible flowers, such as lavender and borage.
You can eat petals and buds from a number of flowers you might not think were edible. If you’ve tried rose hips for tea, you might also try the petals. Petals or buds from several flowers make a nice addition to salads, soups or even pancakes.
Bulbs of some flowers are edible, too. Indian hyacinths or Camasia produce small bulbs the Indians of this country used to bake slowly. A variety of canna known as Canna edulus is a hard to find variety whose bulbs are edible.
In case you’re wondering, yes, there are books about edible flowers. One such book is a little paperback entitled The Edible Flower Garden, by well known gardening author Rosalind Creasy. She has written on various facets of edible gardening. Here’s part of a description of this book .
“The Edible Flower Garden focuses on plants that not only enhance recipes, but also turn the plate into a painting–a visual as well as gastronomic enterprise. For the reader who thinks such things are only for true gourmets or Metropolitan Home magazine aesthetes, one look at the photographs in this book will seduce you. The images are so beautiful and unusual as to be hypnotic: rose petals served as a bowl of ice cream (Rose Petal Sorbet); salads that look like wildflower meadows.
“Creasy interviews Alice Waters of Chez Panisse about her use of flowers in meals at her famous Berkeley restaurant; Waters recounts the curious effect cooking with flowers has on diners. “The flowers are a fascination. People really focus on them and are curious.” This curiosity stems from a cluster of superstitions: that all flowers are somehow poisonous, that beautiful things should not be touched or consumed, that vegetables are the sturdy, useful plants while flowers are ‘for show.’”
Break out of the traditional gardening mold and get The Edible Flower Garden by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where it’s featured, and you can order it from there.
Remember, when it comes to survival gardening, you really do have to think survival and explore all kinds of possibilities. A food source may be where you least expect it, and you don’t want to overlook it.