Browsing through seed catalogues during an early spring thaw, it is easy to be drawn to the color of nasturtiums. It is easy to admire the color nasturtiums bring to containers or the way they dress a salad with salad with their peppery taste. Why stop here when there is a great online resource on the University of Minnesota’s Extension Master Gardener website.
Beyond salads, cakes and other desserts can be decorated with colorful blooms and cold drinks can be enhanced with a floral garnish. The small test tube-like containers used at florists can be inserted in a cake to hold small blooms and provide water.
To assure flowers come from pesticide-free plants, it is best to grow them yourself. Several of the plants listed in the chart below grow well in containers. Harvest blossoms the same day you plan to use them, gently wash them and allow the plants to air dry. Remove the tart internal stamens and styles of larger flowers such as tulip or squash blossoms. If need be, store your colorful prizes in covered containers in the refrigerator. Add the pretty posies just before serving.
Bon appetite! Here are a few suggestions from University of Minnesota Extension Factsheet: (http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h104edibleflowers.html )
|Alpine Strawberry||Flowers and leaves often used in tea|
|Apple or Plum||Flowers|
|Beebalm||Flower taste differs by cultivar; avoid ‘Panorama’ as the taste is too astringent|
|Borage||Flowers and leaves|
|Chamomile||Flowers have an apple scent and flavor|
|Chives||Flowers blossoms and stems|
|Daylilies||Flowers buds are good stir-fried|
|Dill||Flowers, seeds and foliage|
|Lavender||Flowers can be bitter, but wonderfully scented.|
|Lemon Balm||Leaves and flowers are scented.|
|Marjoram||Flowers and leaves|
|Mint||Flowers and leaves|
|Mustard||Flowers, leaves and young seed pods|
|Nasturtium||Fowers and leaves have a peppery taste|
|Rose||Use flower petals.|
|Scarlet Runner Beans||Flowers and young bean pods Note: Sweet Pea flowers NOT edible.|
|Sage||Flowers eaves fresh or dried.|
|Squash||Flowers can be stuffed or fried. If female blossoms are picked fruit will not develop.|