Colorful flowers are admired for their beauty and fragrance. A vase, or arrangement, of garden flowers of the dinner table adds ambiance to the meal and gives that little something extra for added pleasure when entertaining. Edible flowers, used as a garnish, add a bit of fun and whimsy to the plate.
There are some flowers that are actually okay to eat. Nasturtiums can grace a dinner plate or salad. The flower, laid next to the food adds color and interest. The flowers are safe to eat, for the more adventurous.
Cooking and garnishing with flowers is coming back in vogue with the haute cuisine set. Flowers were used in cooking in the Roman, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures. Flowers work best with simple dishes, not overpowering flavors.
When adding flowers to the dinner plate, make sure that they are safe to eat. Even if people don’t’ eat the blooms, make sure that anything put on the plate is safe to eat and not poisonous. Daffodils, Foxgloves and Morning Glory should never be used in cooking.
Pretty flowers, from an organic garden, can add beauty and grace to the dinner plate. Following are edible flowers that are safe to eat on the lunch or dinner plate.
Bee Balm, also called Monarda, Bergamot or Oswego Tea
An airy looking perennial with tubular flowers that were used by Native Americans to brew tea. Blooms are colored pink, red, violet, purple, and white. Monarda attracts hummingbirds to the garden.
Hardy perennials bring showy color to the garden and to the table. Note: many lilies contain alkaloids and are not edible. Daylilies may have a laxative effect.
Bitter flavor, mainly used as garnish.
Easy to grow annuals have blooms in shades of gold, yellow, orange and ivory.
Attractive five petaled flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and cream. Annual plant.
Pinks – Dianthus
Tiny dianthus has been used in gardens for as long as there have been gardens. The name, Dianthus, is Greek for “Zeus’s Flower”. Pinks come in a variety of colors, including reds, pinks, magenta, maroon, or white.
Pot Marigold, Calendula
Also called English Marigold or Field Marigold. Calendula has a history of being used for medicinal purposes such as athletes’ foot, ulcers, and swollen glands., Flowers are yellow and orange.
Scarlett Runner Beans
Tender perennial that grows up to twelve feet in the summer. Scarlet flowers are followed by edible beans.
Tiny flowers bloom in spring.
Colorful annual comes in a variety of shades.
Johnnie Jump Up
Small blooms of yellow, white and purple great in drinks, soups, salads and desserts
In addition to the flowers listed, many herbs have flowers that make beautiful edible garnishes. Tasty additions to the plate include chives, garlic, basil, mint, chamomile,oregano, fennel, mustard, marjoram, rosemary, sage and dill. There are also plants that may be in the yard and can be used on the plate, if you have used lawn chemicals, including dandelions and clover.
Using flowers to beautify the plate adds an artistic touch and some unusual flavors. The edible garnish may not get consumed by the dine, but will add a touch of enjoyment to the meal.