When most people think of flowers or plants on the kitchen table, they think of a vase, not served in the food. However, there are a lot of homegrown plants and flowers that are not only edible but make for incredible culinary delights.
Whether you’re trying to get the most out of your plants or want to wow at your next dinner party, here are some homegrown plants and flowers to use in your cooking.
Rose petals are a versatile ingredient in both DIY beauty products and cooking applications. For the former, you can make a tincture called rosewater that many high-quality natural beauty brands use in their products.
Roses work exceptionally well in teas, jams, and desserts. You can even make candied rose petals to use as an edible garnish or a standalone romantic treat. Add roses to panna cotta, meringue, and shortbread cookies for a light, sweet flavor. You can also make a simple syrup to drizzle over ice cream or to use in cocktails.
Lavender has long been respected for its therapeutic benefits. You can grow this plant indoors or outdoors and turn it into aromatherapy products or use it in cooking.
This flower adds a floral punch to recipes. It pairs exceptionally well with lemon and peach in cakes, cookies, and squares. Lavender also adds an elegant touch to a glass of champagne for a beautiful Sunday brunch.
Sage is a common herb used in cooking, which is often harvested for its leaves. You can find it in many herbal blends as well as seed collections from MySeedNeeds. What most people don’t realize is that when you grow sage at home, you can harvest the small flowers that bloom to use as well.
Sage flowers are a far more subtle version of the iconic leaves that are used in so many hearty dishes. Add them to fish for a mild flavor that complements rather than detracts from your plate. You can also bread and fry the flowers for a unique, delicious snack.
Pansies are a new gardener’s best friend. These pretty flowers are easy to grow and maintain. They are also edible, with an earthy, leafy flavor. Some people say they get a mild minty taste when eating pansies.
It’s this mild, herb-like flavor that makes pansies a great addition to tart summer dishes. Add it to strawberry pie or cheesecake or throw it in sangria for a fun, seasonal twist.
Hibiscus has long been an ingredient used in herbal tea. It tastes relatively acidic in comparison to the other flowers and plants on this list. The flavor profile is similar to cranberries with a hint of citrus.
It’s these tart notes that make hibiscus such a fantastic, flavor-popping ingredient in Mexican cooking. Whip up some hibiscus quesadillas with queso fresco or as a meat alternative for vegetarian tacos.
Zucchini blossoms are mild and delicate. Their bright color and unique shape make them perfect for creating summer dishes. Take the whole blossom and fry it in olive oil for an edible garnish, add it to a flatbread artisan pizza, or stuff them with goat cheese and fruit as a canape.
Violets are a beautiful little bloom that adds an incredible pop of purple to recipes. They have a sweet, floral taste that works well in baked goods, jams, syrups, and sugars. Basically, anything you can make with roses will also work with violets.
Note that violets and African violets are not the same, as the latter are inedible. Be sure to have the right type of violet when cooking.
When growing flowers and plants at home for cooking, be sure to wash the petals well before using them. This will remove any dirt, fertilizer, or chemicals that the plant may have come in contact with.
Avoid using chemicals on your plants and always test your consumption with a small amount to detect any intolerances before continuing.