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Flower Power (In Your Vegetable Garden)

This growing season, we’ve teamed up with Desiree Curie, a local food blogger and recipe developer. Each month, Desiree will take us into her kitchen to whip up something seasonal delicious, and we’ll talk about the horticulture that went into it on our blog! She’s also responsible for the beautiful photos in this post!

Edible flowers. With delicate petals that rarely are found on grocery store shelves, they are as much an emblem of growing your own as a prized heirloom tomato. From nasturtiums to sunflowers, violas to begonias, there are so many ways to incorporate these flowers into your garden.

The Intentional Flower 

There are a number of delicious edible flowers that grow throughout the area. Nasturtiums are among the most popular, offering bright and peppery flavor and a beautiful array of colors to your garden. Amaranth grows in gorgeous ropey purple flowers, whose seeds are used like a grain. That’s not even counting flowers like squash blossoms, which can be plucked from their plants and cooked on their own (or else left to pollinate and become their full fruit.)

amaranth nasturtiums

Bolting Versus Flowering

Sage Blossoms (Courtesy of WISWD)

Sage Blossoms (Courtesy of WISWD)

Not every flower is quite the same. Unlike nasturtiums and their kin, some flowers are not welcome in the garden. The term bolting is typically reserved for annual vegetables, which due to age or heat will “go to seed,” sending up a long stalk and will change their flavor, often before harvesting. Lettuce, for example, will bolt in the summer sun, sending up a stalk and leaving bitter and essentially inedible leaves in their place. There are a few steps you can take to delay bolting, but eventually the realities of a limited growing season mean that you’ll need to harvest out crops to prevent bolting.

Other plants flower without this change of flavor. Sage blossoms are both delicious and beautiful, but won’t alter the flavor of the leaves. Same thing with chive blossoms.

Bolted blossom crostini (Courtesy of WISWD)Many flowers work well to brighten up salads or other dishes, offering a cheery and welcome splash of color and excitement. Over at What’s in Season With Des, our friend and partner Desiree Curie has whipped up some bolted blossom crostini using the bolting flowers of broccoli rabe, as well as some sage and chive blossoms. Delicious!

One thought on “Flower Power (In Your Vegetable Garden)

  1. Margaret Chifari says:

    Hi! This is so good!! I can imagine to serve this beautiful crostini decorated with beautiful colorful flowers to my friends for lunch!! I cannot whet to show off on my next lunch!!! Thank you DES, always interesting things! Love to fallow you!

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