The Flower You Can Grow — and Eat

Edible landscapes are all the rage. Planting garden veggies amongst the shrubbery is a smart utilization of tight space and an easy way to cut back on the grocery bill. Done right, it looks every bit as pleasing as a strictly ornamental landscape; plus you get to harvest the eats!

Even if you didn’t have the forethought to mix a few head of curly cabbage in with your petunias, chances are you might have something edible growing in your flower garden. There are a variety of blooms that are safe for consumption, but none more trouble-free or versatile then the lovely nasturtium.

High in vitamins A, C and D, the leaves and the flowers are edible! But, eat only the petals; remove the pistils and stamens before consuming.
High in vitamins A, C and D, the leaves and the flowers are edible! But, eat only the petals; remove the pistils and stamens before consuming.

The colorful flowers and water lily-looking leaves are edible, as well as the young buds, which are often pickled and used like capers. The nasturtium’s flavor is distinctive, peppery and spicy, similar to a radish; and they range in shades of pale yellow to orange to vibrant pink and red.

The large round leaves can be stuffed dolma style and used for appetizers — cream cheese and chives is a tasty combination; the blooms give salad greens outstanding eye appeal and when chopped add a bit of zippy flair to a colorless potato salad.

Before you start grazing the neighborhood, make sure the plants haven’t been contaminated with pesticides and don’t use flowers from a florist. Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed and do well in containers or beds. They grow best in a sunny spot and thrive on neglect; dry soil will produce more blooms then leaves, making them the perfect choice for the forgetful gardener.

For the best flavor, harvest nasturtium in the morning; wash, place them on a moist paper towel and seal in an airtight container. Nasturtiums will stay fresh for at least a week in the fridge.

It’s not too late to grow and eat your own nasturtiums! Get a pot, get some dirt and get planting!

Do you have a creative use for edible flowers? Click here for three tasty recipes. —Karen

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