When we re-landscaped our garden 5 years ago, one of my dreams is for my children to forage in our backyard.
I imagined them going around the yard picking berries in different color and shapes, pulling of little tomatoes and popping them into their mouths, and filling their tummies with peas they’ve just shelled.
Aside from berries and veggies, we also planted lots of edible flowers in the garden.
The list of edible flowers below are what we have growing in our garden. These plants are very easy for kids to grow and are perfectly safe to eat. All they need is water, sun and lots of love. Some of these flowers will even grow without love =)
List of Edible Flowers
This is a super easy flower to grow and will give you lots of blooms to eat! The flowers have a somewhat sweet, peppery flavor. You could either put the whole flower or individual petals in salads.
The lily pad shaped leaves of the plant is edible as well. Just for fun, I want to pick the leaves and float them in a tub of water for a frog themed sensory bin =)
These pansies grow without love in our garden =) I have no idea where they came from but a few years ago, they started appearing on our bark mulch. I didn’t have the heart to pull them out and now we have an abundance of them =) Elle and I pick and eat these all the time. The more you pick them, the more flowers will come back.
We have small mini pansies and they could be eaten whole. If you have big pansies (flowers are about 2” in diameter), eat the individual petals and take the white part of the petal off since it is bitter. Different colors of pansies have different flavors.
These small flowers are great in salads, as a decoration for cakes or serve them with soft cheeses. You could even freeze them in ice cube trays for pretty ice cubes for your summer drinks =)
Isn’t this salad stunning? All we did was added some pansies and marigold petals to a green salad. You can see the recipe here with other 5 ingredient recipes.
Every spring, our lilac tree blesses us with the most fragrant blooms. We snipe off a few to put in the house and share them with friends.
Lilacs are very fragrant but the flowers are slightly bitter so they’re not our favorite to eat. But if you put a few clusters of flowers in water and infuse it for a couple hours, you’ll get the most fragrant floral tasting water. Try infusing it in fizzy (carbonated) water. It’s delicious!
These flowers totally grow and multiply without love. They flower early in the spring before all the other flowers are available and we eat them whole. The heart shaped leaves are also edible and can be cooked like spinach.
Just a little caution that this violet I’m referring to is NOT African violets or other flowers that are labeled ‘violets’. Those are NOT edible. If you’re not sure, ask your local nursery.
This is the first year we are growing sunflower for food. You can pick the unopened sunflower buds and steam it or sauté it in butter. They taste a bit like artichokes (so I was told). You could also eat the petals of the flower but it’s a bit bitter so the kids might not like it.
It’ll be fun to let some sunflowers go to seed so you could collect and roast the seeds or leave it on the plants for the birds.
Who doesn’t love roses? I planted a bushy landscape rose in our garden because my mom loved roses. This type of rose has smaller flowers and is great for infusions in water.
The darker the rose, the stronger the flavor. If you have little roses like ours, they make a great garnish on ice cream and desserts. For larger petals, remove the white part at the end of the petal since it’s bitter. You could freeze them in ice cubes or make syrups and jellies with them. Rose hips are also edible (the ‘fruit’ after the flower died).
I love everything a lavender plant has to offer. Just for fun, Elle would run her hand along the leaves to take in the scent. We have also dried the flowers and made sachets for drying our clothes.
Lavender flowers has a sweet, floral flavor. Elle likes to pull the cluster of flower apart and sprinkle it on ice cream and cakes. We also like to sprinkle them on water to make it really pretty =)
The first time I had a squash blossom was at a farmers market. It was stuffed with cream cheese, battered and deep fried. If eating raw, you could tear the petals and put them in salads for some color.
This is a good plant to teach your kids about male and female flowers, which one produces fruit and how it gets pollinated. If you want the plant to produce zucchinis, make sure to eat the male flowers only =)
These edible flowers like to grow in the shade and produces so many blooms throughout the summer. They come in whites, pinks and reds and taste sweet.
We like to break the petals off and put them in salads. You could also freeze them in ice cubes or sprinkle the petals on a punch.
Marigolds have a very pungent scent so we don’t eat this one that often. I plant it around my tomato plants so harmful nematodes don’t attack my them. These guys are super easy to grow and will flower all summer and fall.
We pick and eat the petals once in a while just for fun because it is such a different tasting flower. If you want to plant some in your garden, try to find the Lemon Gem variety since it has a refreshing lemony flavor and the petals are good in salads.
How To Safely Eat Edible Flowers
As a caution, never eat a flower unless you are sure of their identification. I taught Elle to ask first before eating ANYTHING she finds growing on a plant, even in our own garden.
If your kids are prone to allergies and have never eaten a certain plant before, introduce edible flowers in small quantities. Try 1 first to see if they’re ok with it.
We only eat flowers we grew ourselves since we don’t use any pesticide or chemicals in our garden. Please don’t eat anything you find on the side of the road since the plant and flowers could be polluted.
If you’re buying these edible flowers from the nursery, eat only the 2nd set of flowers and the ones after. Since nurseries spray the plants with whatever they spray them with, those flowers will have chemicals on them.
This list of edible flowers I’ve put together is what’s growing in our garden. There are a lot of edible flowers out there where the flowers/petals are edible and other parts of the plants are poisonous.
And lastly, consume at your own risk.