Summer Salads with Edible Flowers

Salad, is anybody really eating anything else in summer? I love my salad for lunch and dinner. The good thing about a salad is it can be the main dish or as a companion to your main dish. You can get creative and make any sort of salad you like. The classic garden salad, couscous salad, pasta salad. All sorts of options and flavour combinations are out there for you to get creative with. That’s the glorious thing about a summer salad.

When people think about flowers, they often think of how pretty they look in the garden or on the table in a vase, and if they look pretty in the garden why not in your home made salad. It will make a great eye catching dish at a gathering or a family BBQ or even just wow the family at home. The kids will love it. I love seeing a child’s face light up when you put a flower in your mouth to eat. It’s always a bit of a giggle at first. It’s something a lot of people are not taught you can do. You don’t want to just go out and grab any flowers you can see from the garden though, you can to know that you can eat them and they are going to taste good too. Some options include:

Nasturtium

The good thing about nasturtium is that summer is totally their season, and they are a very easy care plant. They are sprawlers or climbers and grow extremely well in a pot. Try growing them amongst other climbers such as beans to add some colour to the veggie garden. They are also a good companion plant for keeping away insects.summer salads with edible flowers

Flavour – a peppery taste, all parts of this plant can be eaten. Try adding some of the round leaves as well. The leaves are just as pretty.

Colours – yellow, orange and reds.

Where to grow – a sunny position is best but part shade is also suitable.

Watering and feeding – as always if keeping it in a pot these guys will require a bit more water than in the ground but in general they don’t need a lot of watering at all. They will also produce better flowers if you do not feed them too much, they tend to produce more foliage otherwise.

Calendula and Marigold summer salads with edible flowers

A bold and beautiful flower that will look amazing in the flower bed or as an addition to the vegetable garden. Try them in containers or as a border plant, they really make an impact. These stunning flowers make a great companion plant and are good at keeping pests away.

Flavour – a sharp tangy taste, similar to saffron. This may vary slightly depending on variety.

Colours – colours vary from yellow, orange, bronze and red. There are a number of two toned varieties available. They flower over a long period of time.

Where to grow – in full sun or partial shade. Good drainage will benefit this plant.

Watering and feeding – these plants love to let you know when they need a good water, they will start to look a little sad. In pots they will need to be watered quite a bit more than in the ground. A compost rich area or a slow release fertiliser should be sufficient for good growth. If in pots try a little dried blood for flower promotion.

Violasummer salads with edible flowers

I have to say that these gorgeous little flowers are amongst my favourite, they make a stunning decoration in salads and desserts and are just so petite and happy in the garden. Violas do however grow better in autumn through to spring. They still flower in summer though just not as profusely.

Flavour – mild flavour

Colours – the variety of colours is almost endless. They range from whites to yellows and oranges, pinks, reds and blues. Loads of different colour combinations available which makes these flowers ideal for food preparation.

Where to grow – part shade is best although they will grow in full sun. For the summer season I would recommend sticking to a part shade position. A free-draining soil is best.

Watering and feeding – in dryer periods water more often, when the weather cools off be careful not to over water as they will rot. Dried blood is a great food to help with flower boost.

Borage summer salads with edible flowers

Bees love this plant so it’s great to have in the garden. The petite star shaped blue flowers will look stunning on the summer plate.

Flavour – similar to cucumber, the leaves can also be eaten. Try using both flowers and leaves.

Colours – blue

Watering and feeding – this plant tends to like it nice and dry so don’t water too often, they also do rather well with little to no care.

 

More edible flowers include, but are not limited to:

  • English lavender
  • Rose
  • Hollyhock
  • Begonia
  • Carnations
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cornflower
  • Impatiens
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Day lilies
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

With any flower, make sure to harvest them in the morning when it is cooler, you can then store them on a moist paper towel in an air tight container in the fridge or better yet harvest right before you are about to prepare them. They can deteriorate quickly. Try and only use the petals of the flower.

Flowers are stunning in salads but they can also be used in iced drinks, frozen into ice blocks, in pasta and soups and of course our herbal teas and desserts. They bring many health benefits and can add a good number of vitamins to any dish. Invite some friends and family around and get creative with the colour straight from your garden and remember to watch the kids faces as you serve them flowers for the first time. I’m sure they will love it.

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