Edible flowers take all forms and all flavors, from tiny to huge, sweet to peppery. This week I’m sharing some of my favorites.
Nasturtium leaves and flowers
Nasturtiums leaves and flowers are both edible, but neither will slide into your dish un-noticed. Nasturtium is also known as Indian cress, and the leaves do taste very much like watercress. I like nasturtium leaves, which look very much like tiny waterlily pads, on a sandwich with vegan mayonnaise, and sauteed mushrooms.
The flowers of nasturtium are peppery and can be eaten raw or cooked. When I cook nasturtium flowers, Ithrow them in a the last minute so that they are wilted in but still vividly colorful. Their flavor lends them to stir frys, enchiladas, and salads, and though I haven’t tried it, I’m betting dicing them into a creamy dip would be a huge hit.
Nasturtiums in the garden
The most beautiful flower garden bed I think I’ve ever done was completely an accident. I paired the dark purple leaves of bull’s blood beets with their cousins, rainbow chard, and then stitched the border with a mix of nasturtium varieties, including one that was variegated.
I could see mixing some Fish peppers (an heirloom variety from the African American communities around the Chesapeake Bay), or perhaps a low growing Doone Valley thyme, but this very simple mixture was exceedingly satisfying, both in the kitchen and in the garden.