6 Garden Flowers You Didn't Know You Could Eat
When most people think about gardening, it's usually about growing food or growing flowers. Not only to add some eye-catching color, but also to support pollinators like bees and butterflies, flowers are great to have around during the gardening season.
Many varieties of plants can be grown not only for their leaves or roots (basil, radishes, or cilantro), but also for the flowers that will develop with a bit more time. Sometimes it's better to pick off the flower buds to encourage more leaf-production (if you're into more basil leaves). Otherwise, when the flowers appear, try these new harvests to enjoy.
Check out the six lesser-known edible flower varieties below, it's time to get fancy.
1. Borage Flowers
Borage is a beautiful flower, also known as the starflower. It has a similar taste to a cucumber (!!!) and is perfect to garnish your cocktails. The vibrant blue of this flower truly shows off when added to ice cubes. Bees LOVE borage, so it's a fantastic variety to have around for pollinators.
Grow your own Borage:
2. Arugula Flowers
When Arugula leaves have past their prime, you may have seen these white blossoms pop up. Some may say the arugula has "bolted" and give up on the garden. Did you know these flowers are edible too? They pack the same punch that the leaves offer! Arugula flowers are great for topping green salads, avocado toast, and other meals to make your food instantly, Insta-worthy.
Grow your own Arugula:
3. Radish Flowers
Radishes are fast-growing roots, at their most tender state in just 3 weeks. Sometimes, it's easy to forget and miss the best harvesting window! Although the root wont be as tender after more time as passed, the plants have another treat in store. Radishes will "bolt" or send up a central stalk with buds and beautiful flowers - these are edible too! Snip off radish flowers to add to green salads for a pop of color, or finish stir-frys with these spicy blossoms.
Grow your own Radishes:
4. Thai Basil
Thai Basil grows to be a gorgeous tall plant, with purple stems, small leaves and incredibly aromatic, edible flowers. Just brushing by this plant, will release an intoxicating scent! Thai Basil flowers shine in stir-frys (careful not to cook, just add at the end), summer-rice paper rolls, and even in sun tea. Thai Basil flowers are fantastic to add flavor to cocktails (Tropical Thai Twist), and use these strong-scented blossoms as garnishes.
Grow your own Thai Basil:
Tulsi, also known as "Holy Basil" or "Sacred Basil", is full of health benefits that come from both the leaves and the stunning purple flowers. Not only is Tulsi great in cocktails (Sacred Gimlet) and floral ice cubes, but it also has a host of medicinal benefits. Tulsi is known to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins, and reduce stress. It is a great flower to dry for tea to wind down and relax.
Grow your own Tulsi:
6. Buzz Buttons
Have you ever had a Buzz Button?? These plants grow edible leaves and flowers that will leave your taste buds tingling! This flower is sometimes called "the toothache plant" because of it's medicinal uses in helping to reduce pain of a toothache by leaving a mouth-watering and numbing sensation when eaten. The compounds in the plant help flush the lymphatic system and boost immunity! Try taking just a small bite of the bud at first, to experience the numbing feeling. The leaves and flowers can be consumed fresh (even in cocktails), or dried to grind up and use later.
Grow your own Buzz Buttons:
Feeling fancy yet? Try growing flowers you've never had before to dress up boring salad greens or create whimsical cocktails for impressive entertaining.