When intercropping flowers with your edibles, you may be surprised to learn that these nectar rich blossoms can also provide a culinary source of food to enjoy. For example, consider planting nasturtiums when planting beans. Not only will they provide protection for your beans and a source of food and shelter for beneficials, the flower, leaves and stems provide an edible source of food for ourselves.
These bright coloured flowers, leaves and stems deliver a peppery taste that you can add to salads, soups or make a home made vinaigrette.
Nasturtiums are classified as a herb as well as a flower with a source of vitamin A and C. The seed pods can be pickled and also used in salads. The varieties we use and grow today descend from species native to Peru. If you wish to prepare these colourful blossoms, make sure to inspect for insects hiding within the petals.
Calendulas not only deliver a bright yellow and orange colour, they will also add colour to your cool season vegetable beds that will attract not only pollinators but beneficial insects. Learn how you can save calendula petals for use in teas and natural body care products.
Violas add a palette of purple, blue and yellow intercropped among members of the brassica and lettuce families, they also have a lettuce like flavour and they are used to garnish deserts or added to green salads.
Vegetable blossoms also gives you a bonus for you to eat and enjoy. For example scarlet runners, squash and strawberry blossoms are typical edibles as well as part of your vegetable yield. Scarlet runner bean flowers can be eaten raw or added to salads or cooked runner bean dishes. The flower has a mild bean flavour and the red scarlet runner flower blossoms are used to garnish and decorate culinary presentations. The scarlet runner bean flower is the only bean flower recommended for eating.
All squash blossoms not only attract beneficial native squash bees to pollinate the male flower to the female but these blossoms can be battered, deep fried or sauteed and added to salads, pastas or sliced and added to soups or omelettes. (Yes I did say battered and deep-fried). All flowers have a slightly sweet nectar flavour.
Strawberry Plant Blossoms
The blossom of the strawberry plant not only holds flavour but the fragrance of the strawberry fruit. These white petals can be added to drinks, salads or different desserts.
Research and taste test trials of all these suggested edible flowers and blossoms are only recommended after following proper hygiene practices and individual consumers do so entirely at their own risk. The author cannot be held responsible for any allergic or adverse reactions. In case of doubt prior to consuming, consult your physician.