Friday, 3 July 2015

June edible flowers

Well summer is almost here and as a consequence the garden is slowly starting to come into bloom. One slightly lovely (and not so lovely thing) is that I have been away a lot recently visiting my family up North (due to family illness), and each time I come back the garden seems to have changed again or a new thing has popped up that wasn't there when I left.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I did go for it this year on the edible flower front, both because I love edible flowers, and as you know and they are very expensive to buy (and hard to find), but also because lots of them are so bright and colourful and really easy to grow. So far as I write this at the end of June I've already got lots and lots of borage, violas (now on their way out though), chive flowers, forget me nots, apple blossom (which I obviously didn't grow), marigolds, and wild strawberries.

I thought I'd share a few pictures so you can see how it's coming along and a couple of examples of how I've used them so far

The borage is already prolific and despite being grown from seed not too long ago is already around a metre tall. I love borage mainly for its colour and also the fact you can use both the leaves and the flowers, and they both taste like cucumber- which I love! You will need to use the leaves once they are quite young as once they mature they become large, tougher and hairy and therefore somewhat less appetising! The borage self seeds also, which means they basically grow, flower, shed seeds and then start growing again in a new place. Ooh and if you needed any more convincing, apparently borage can also be made into an oil and used to treat arthiritis, though you'd have to be rather more adventurous/ experienced than me to try that!

Chive flowers are so easy to grow and if you don't fancy growing them yourself you can just pick up a chive plant in the supermarket, plant it and wait for the magic to happen. Once ready, pluck the flowers off, pull petals off and scatter over a salad for a lovely sharp onion flavor, and a bright hit of pink colour.

I have planted mine next to the borage and nasturtiums as those plants tend to attract aphids and apparently aphids don't like chives and onions- I'll let you know how I get on with that one though!

Forget me nots do not add that much flavor wise, in fact they go pretty much un noticed in food, but they're a lovely bright colour, and just like the borage, will give a salad an extra edge, making them perfect for garnishing food or drinks with when you're entertaining or trying to impress!

The apple blossom, I didn't grow myself, but it is growing in the garden and so I just wanted to share it with you as it's so pretty!

That's it for the moment, though lots of the rest are looking very leafy so I'm hoping over the next few weeks to see lots more flowers. I am so pleased with them as they were all started from seed using these little (very unprofessional looking) kits that I got in T K Maxx in the sale, so I was a bit dubious about how any of them would look!

I've popped the borage here into a sort of mocktail that I made which is just tonic water, a squeeze of lemon, a squeeze of lime, shaved strips of cucumber, a chopped strawberry and a few borage flowers. It takes literally 2 minutes to throw together and although it might well be enhanced by a dash (or two) of gin, it is definitely going to be an alfresco staple this summer!

Last but not least I've shown a couple of examples of the flowers in salads. The borage flowers do add a lovely, though very subtle cucumber flavour, though the other flowers here don't add too much flavour wise. You can see though that they really do life the plate and make what are pretty boring salads look a little bit more special, making them perfect for barbeques and picnics or just general summer entertaining!

The flowers also look lovely frozen with water in ice cube trays (boil the water and let it cool first to stop the cubes going cloudy). Then pop them into drinks when you have guests to impress, or when you're feeling decadent!

I'd love to hear about your experiences with edible flowers, are you growing any? Do you have any favourites, or favourite ways to use them?


  1. I'm growing plenty of herbs and the sage has just began flowering beautiful pink/purple flowers. Lovely


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