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.
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