I adore the idea of edible flowers: they give you instant-chef status. You toss some flowers as an edible garnish, and all of a sudden you are credited with culinary knowledge, considered a guru of foods, a student of edible curiosities. When was the last time you were served a salad or cocktail with pansies or nasturtiums? And don't forget: chives, lavender, squash blossoms... lilac, dandelions or roses.
Of course, I wanted to play it safe and bought organic flower starts from Seattle Tilth. Make sure if you are buying a plant, it is deemed edible, hasn't been sprayed with pesticides and unless it is an herb---don't assume you can eat the leaves...
We are, like many families, busy busy busy. Too busy. Which is one of the reasons we escaped recently for a year of walking around European towns with very few cares and even fewer obligations (family field trip - a year abroad to Italy). But our goal wasn't to stay (nor would our bank account allow); we returned to Seattle with reoriented goals and big plans for our lives.
We came home so our two sons could enjoy high school stateside, for us to reconnect with family and friends and deliberately establish ourselves in Seattle's community. My husband dove headfirst into Seattle's hot technology scene (which he loves) and I began marking my domain. And I don't mean peeing on fence posts to mark my territory. Although... I do mean putting some stakes in the ground and embracing a plot of land as my own.
And part of plotting-my-plot (translation: we bought a 'fixer' home with decent square footage by urban living standards) means picking what to grow, planting herbs and vegetables, hovering over seedlings and indulging in a few edible flowers. I mean, if I am gonna plant flowers.... they might as well be edible, right?
James (the hubs) made me flower boxes for my birthday (April) which I promptly filled with herbs and vegetables. On Mother's Day, we spent the day in the yard, digging up weeds, bamboo roots, rocks, old nasty sod and more. I said to my son Caleb, I cleaned dirt today'; we laughed at the irony. Really, though, I did: there are two plots of dirt between my flower boxes (each with a tree) and I 'cleaned' them of their rocks, bricks, weeds and grass. Then topped it off with 'new' dirt. Old dirt, new dirt, clean dirt, dirty dirt. At least I can say: my dirt is well played in!
Dirt-playing aside, I took my newly purchased edible flowers and planted them in a basket and an antique copper container (both containers I found at garage sales); the containers are cozied up near my 'flower' boxes.
A few links to get you started:
Long list of edible flowers, plus quick description of flavor(s).
Sunset Magazine's Edible Flower Salad Recipe.
YouTube video covers a handful of edible flowers, obviously with 'visual'
A recipe from my archives: Cheese-filled, quickly sauteed Squash Blossoms.
A few 'flowery' recipes including lavender lemonade and salmon with nasturtium vinaigrette...
How to 'sugar' or crystallize your edible flowers.
Edible Flowers according to Wikipedia.