Dandelions haven’t been so much fun since Mama had a baby and her head popped off.
Foraging, if you hadn’t heard, is the new repurposing. Going out and finding ingredients for your dinner either in the woods, your front lawn or … if conditions are right, your neighbours back lawn.
Most foraging takes research, education, some professional guidance, and let’s face it … bravery. It takes a brave soul to a) rumble around the bush with all it’s spiders and such, looking for an edible mushroom or leaf. Because spiders are scary. Of course there’s the whole, if you pick the wrong plant you might poison yourself thing too. I’m much more frightened of the spiders.
But. I wanted to forage. I’m nothing if not willing to jump on every single food/farming bandwagon that comes along. In fact, I’m so into bandwagoning that if you are on that bandwagon and there’s no more room for me, I will jump up on the bandwagon, shove you off, stamp on your hands as you hold on for dear life and laugh, hands raised over my head, as you tumble down the dirt road until you’re nothing but a faraway spot with hair.
So this foraging business. It got me to thinking, if it seemed like kind of a pain and a bit risky to me … the wild child of the farm world … what must others think of it? I’m totally going to learn how to forage, but I needed an immediate fix. So I got my research cap on and went searching around the big, fat liar of an Internet to see what I had right around my house that could be eaten this very moment.
I found a lot.
And chances are if you have a regular type garden with pretty common flowers YOU have a lot in your flower garden you can eat too.
So, after researching I set out with a pair of scissors, a baggie and a set of teeth and a tongue. The baggie was borrowed (from my mom), the teeth and tongue were my own.
As you probably know by now, I can’t present you with anything, or recommend anything that I haven’t tired myself. So I gathered up all the flowers, sat down and ate em.
Here are my findings:
Nasturtium: Not a lot of flavour, definitely wouldn’t overpower any dish. Peppery with a hint of nutty sweetness. Beautiful flower for putting in salad or on an open faced sandwich as well as garnish.
Dandelion: Again not a lot of flavour, but there is some flavour there. Like plant basically. Others recommend pulling the petals off and scattering them over rice which I think would work well.
Rose: Roses taste like … roses. Honestly. Probably best on a dessert item and garnish for cakes. The white part in larger petals can be bitter.
Impatiens: These were among my favourites. They’re actually meaty and almost have the flavour of arugula without any bitterness. Would be FANTASTIC in salads. But go for rustic, not cutsey please. Oh hell. Do whatever you want. It’s your salad.
Thyme Flowers: Very strong flavour of thyme. Use wherever you would use thyme. Would be really nice as a garnish sprinkled over a stew or any soup that has thyme cooked into it.
Squash Blossom: Very mild squash flavour. Beautiful smooth, velvety texture. Nice raw, but watch for a fried squash blossom recipe coming up soon.
Phlox: Surprisingly strong floral taste. Good for fruit salads. Only the perennial phlox is edible. Those are the ones that come up every year and are about 3 feet tall.
Tuberous Begonia: These were my hands down favourite. The flower petals have an incredibly strong lemony taste. Sort of a cross between rhubarb and lemon. The stalks and stems taste almost exactly like rhubarb, but a bit brighter tasting. It’s that undertone of lemon. Use anywhere you want a punch of sour lemon flavour like salads, fish, garnish. They’d be beautiful floating in a glass of lemonade. Begonias should not be eaten by anyone with gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism.
Obviously this isn’t a complete list of edible flowers. These are just the edible flowers I found around my garden or my mother’s garden. Here’s a good source I found with lists of edible flowers if you’re interested in learning more.
Now come on! Hop on the foraging bandwagon with me. Honestly. I’m willing to shove off anyone necessary to make room for ya.
note: don’t eat any flowers unless you’re sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticide. Or urine. Duh.