Deb's Big Backyard

  Deb's Big Backyard

5 Incredible Edible Flowers to Pick 'n Eat!

photos by Kevin J. McCarey


by Deb Quantock McCarey


When I first served my spouse Kevin a fresh veggie salad topped with red and yellow nasturtiums I had growing in my veggie and native gardens, he refused to eat it.


Eventually, he has come around...mostly.


But he still won't eat dandelion greens or flowers.  Eating yard weeds, he says, is going a bit too wild for him. 


He didn't care that I found a source talking about seven other so-called yard weeds suitable to eat

I haven't tried any of them either.  Yet.


Neither have I given Dahlia bulbs a go.


These gorgeous flowers are a close cousin of the sunflower, and the Jerusalem artichoke.


Hey, I have eaten these five, though.  And, I have discovered there are scores more.


But, don't eat and ask later.  Please do some substantiated research first. 


Here is what is growing -- and going to the table -- in my yard...


NASTURTIUM:  The peppery tasting leaves and flowers are pretty, as they fill in the blank garden's spots, and a perky pick-me-up in a fresh salad in yellow or red. photos by Kevin J. McCarey


2.  MARIGOLDS AND CALENDULA:  The ongoing folklore about these edible flowers is that they repel a number of insects and should be interplanted with herbs and vegetables to protect plants.  However, the only proven pest marigolds repel are soil dwelling nematodes, when densely planted with crops.

The Marigolds have a peppery taste, whereas the Calendula flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery.

The Marigolds have a peppery taste, whereas the Calendula flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery.


The edible flowers can be used to spice up, one source said, salads, cakes, and teas.


3:  BORAGE:  Described by some permaculturists as a beautiful, therapeutic and tasty garden add-in, I do not grow borage yet.  Up to this point I have considered it too invasive.  But, now I am on the fence.  Borage is probably best known as a medicinal herb with edible leaves and a flower that tastes sort of like a cucumber.


BTW, being a beginning bee spotter, I am taken with the fact that this easy to grow herb is not only a favorite plant of the honey bees, but also bumble bees and small, native bees, as well.


4:  GARLIC CHIVES:  They look like onion chives, but taste like garlic.  And, in my garden, the pollinators love them.  I use the stems in all manner of dishes, and put the pretty flowers in herbal vinegars to strengthen the taste.  Garlic chives are also cultivated for culinary uses such as salads, soups, soft cheeses, compound butters, and grilled meat.

5.  ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS:  Pick 'em.  Stuff 'em with cheese.  Dredge 'em in flour, and fry 'em up.  This easy summer appetizer is delish, and a pro-active way to curb an out-of-control zucchini population.

If you want them to to go full term, here are 26 summer squash recipes to cover that.

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