Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Edible Flowers of Wintergreen Farm

I am a big fan of the edible flower. When I like to eat something I always want other people to try it too, so we are sharing some of the edible flowers we have growing at the farm with our CSA members. I know eating flowers isn't for everyone, but hopefully members will try them, and even enjoy them as much as I do.

Bachelor's Button
This gorgeous flower, which comes in shades of pink as well as blue, doesn't really have much flavor. It should be used as a garnish or added to a salad to preserve it's fresh beauty.

Calendula, or Pot Marigold
This flower has a rich, slightly resinous flavor. Generally only the petals are eaten. They are traditionally used to garnish carrot dishes. I really like them in fritters and they are also good in salads.


Onion flowers are very pungent. They taste, not surprisingly, like onions. If you like raw onions, you will enjoy the flowers raw as well. Add them to salads like scallions. Otherwise, use them cooked as you would onions, keeping in mind that they only need a very light cooking.

This is my first year growing safflower (yes, it is the source of safflower oil) and they have only just started blooming so I have not experimented with eating them much yet. I have nibbled them and can say that they have a surprisingly nutty flavor. The green portions are tough and a little bitter, but the base of the flower and the petals are very good to eat. I think they would do well in a fritter or a salad.

Wild Carrot, or Queen Anne's Lace
These lacy white flowers are, or course, weeds. Or volunteers if you would like to be more sensitive about it. Weed or not, they're putting on quite a show this year and have a pleasant carroty flavor. They don't really hold up well to cooking, but can easily be added to salads or salad dressings. They can also be included in hot dishes that have carrots (or would benefit from some carrot flavor) as long as they are added at the end of cooking, as you would add fresh basil.

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