Sometimes the best thing we can offer a friend in need is sustenance in the form of flowers and plants. That paired with something one can eat and enjoy is especially thoughtful and nourishing for both the body and soul. It’s always a welcome offering to give someone fresh produce; there’s nothing lovelier than a big bunch of freshly picked carrots or radishes! Here are some ideas for beautiful floral bouquets that can be made from edible plants and blossoms. Whether you’re adding them to a dish as a garnish, sprinkling bits into a salad, or even making wine, these are some of our favorite flowers:
(Disclaimer: some of the parts of the flowers mentioned below are not edible, and not all types of certain plants are intended for consumption, so it’s very important to make sure you know what you’re about to consume beforehand.)
Edible flowers and plants
- Daylilies (fresh and dried) are a huge part of Asian cuisine! The entire plant is edible: orange flowers and all.
- Nasturtium is commonly used on salads and has a peppery taste.
- Fiddleheads are delicious, especially when sautéed with a little garlic and oil. They are also uniquely beautiful and whimsical plants.
- Mint is, of course, a staple when it comes to tea and garnishes. It sweetens and freshens our breath and is delightfully fragrant.
- Blackberries are, of course, gorgeous plants that, when ripe, are filled with plump, sweet fruits. Used to make everything from preserves and jellies to wine and syrups, a blackberry bramble is also pleasing to the eye. Blackberry bushes yield more than just the berry: they have exquisite green leaves with sharp points and small five-petalled white and pink flowers.
- Chamomile is one of the most soothing plants and a favorite for lots of reasons. Its flowers create a calming herbal tea that suits almost every palate.
- Chicory or “blue chicory” is a wildflower that grows indiscriminately, easily, and spreads very quickly! Leaves can be eaten raw in a salad, while the roots and leaf buds are usually boiled.
- Lavender—known for its soothing benefits—can be used for cooking. Culinary lavender is used as a spice, and you’ve probably heard of lavender cookies.
- Dandelion leaves are great for salads and, when plentiful, are used for winemaking.
- Elderberries are edible but some need to be cooked first (the red variety), while black and blue ones can be consumed raw.
- Roses are, by far, some of the most romantic flowers in existence. Rose petals are edible and so is rose water (made from steeping the petals). Used as a beauty treatment and perfume since antiquity, there’s nothing more special than a little rose water to make a cocktail or even a facial a little more luxurious.
- Squash blossoms. or “calabasas” are extremely popular in Mexican cuisine and have a subtle flavor. They add a bit of texture to any meal and can be prepared in just about any way imaginable, by baking, sautéing, roasting, etc.
- Honeysuckle is known for its intoxicating, heady aroma and ornate climbing bushes that flourish during the summer months. The only part of the honeysuckle that can be eaten, though, is the sweet nectar.
- Violet leaves and flowers can be eaten and actually contain high amounts of Vitamin C and A. Violet syrups are especially tasty when used in drinks and teas. Use the petals to make any dessert (especially cakes) extra special.
- Jasmine sambac is the only edible sort of this plant (not to be mistaken with Gelsemium sempervirens, which is poisonous to humans). Used in desserts and beverages such as tea and lemonade, jasmine sambac is filled with antioxidants.
- Sunflowers yield seeds that make a delicious snack on their own or sprinkled on top of yogurt or salad.
• An olive branch is the ultimate token of forgiveness and peace. When you’re ready to bury the hatchet, so to speak, after a quarrel, consider giving an olive branch as a gift. Chelsea Flowers has beautiful olive trees for this sort of occasion (or any time)!
• Rosemary “for remembrance” (as quoted by Ophelia in “Hamlet”) is a favorite herb (known for its culinary uses and wonderful fragrance) and has been used at weddings for garlands and dipped into the couple’s wine glasses to ensure a holy union.
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