Tag Archives: edible flowers

Edible Flowers Great For Small Spaces

Edible Flowers for Small Spaces

May 18, 2012

Are you limited to an apartment windowsill or small balcony but still  want to grow organic food to liven up your diet? Try edible flowers.
Usually only seen in high-end gourmet restaurants to garnish  salads or brighten a plate, edible flowers are easy to grow, bloom all  summer long and come in a variety of colors, shapes and flavors.
Here are a few listed in the Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog (johnnyseeds.com) and widely available elsewhere:
• Nasturtiums (Nasturtium officinale) are probably the best-known edible  flowers—you can eat the flowers when they are fully open and eat the  leaves, too. They come in yellows, oranges and reds.
• Calendulas (Calendula offinalis) are edible when the flowers are fully  open. They come in various shades of yellow, some with darker tinges on  the edges.
• Bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus) or classic cornflowers come in a  variety of colors that produce abundantly. They can make successive  sowings to bloom all summer.
• Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) has a nice nutty flavor. Hummingbirds love them, too.
• Hollyhocks (Alcea ficifolia) are large 3-inch to 4-inch flowers on  long stems that range in color from cream white to yellow to pink and  deep maroon.
• Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos lablab) also make nice cut flowers and come in shades of purple.
• Ornamental, cutflower kales (Brassica oleracea) are cool-weather  plants that you can plant in the fall and grow into the cold weather.  These are colorful, leaf-type cabbages that are edible.
Of course, if your roses have not been treated with chemicals, they are  edible, too. My beautiful wife, Annette, puts rose petals in the teas  she makes. You can boil them in water and add lemon juice and sugar or  honey for a stand-alone tea, put them in an omelet, or use them as a  garnish (they are really pretty in yogurt!).
Clip this article out and take it to your local garden supply store.  Buy organic or heirloom seed varieties to ensure they aren’t genetically  modified “frankenseeds.”
Remember: You want to grow organically, so don’t use chemical  pesticides, etc. Pollinators like butterflies and honeybees like edible  flowers as well, so let’s help keep them healthy, too!

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

Natural, organic, edible yards

March 11, 2011

Maybe chef will say ‘bee-YOU-tee-ful’ over edible yards

I guess I’ve been watching Emeril Green too much on TV, as I found myself hearing the popular chef’s voice in my head while out picking greens in the field: “Ah, bee-YOU-tee-ful!”

After the frosts, we got a beautiful new crop of collards which, when picked fresh, are so sweet and tender they can be eaten raw – which I was doing: pick one, eat one, pick two, eat one, pick three, eat one …. and so on. (Kind’a reduces your yield that way!)

Collards, when fresh, can be lightly steamed, as well.

I love watching chef Emeril Lagasse’s show when he actually goes to a farm or farmer’s market and talks with the farmers, and then cooks what they provide, often right there adjacent to their farm fields. It certainly shows folks who think food comes from the grocery store where their food actually originates, and that there are real people involved.

Organic lawns

Lately, I’ve been rather overwhelmed by “pre-emerge” poisons being sprayed all over the countryside.

There’s not much that can be done about poisons in farm country (until people start buying organic en masse!), but you can control your own property. The safe lawn movement promotes chemically free, organic lawns.

One method is what’s called an “edible lawn,” that is, not composed of turf grasses, but instead, plants that can be prepared or eaten raw. It also includes traditional lawns but without the use of herbicides or pesticides and only natural fertilizers, so that children, pets and the environment are not harmed. For more information, visit http://www.safelawns.org.

Natural alternatives

If you are one who abhors traditional lawns, you might consider natural alternatives to the monoculture turf grasses. For example, Peaceful Valley (www.groworganic.com) offers a variety of lawn and meadow mixes, such as its herbal lawn seed mix: Roman Chamomile, English Daisy, Snow-in-Summer, Sweet Alyssum, Creeping Daisy, Blue Pimpernel, Creeping Thyme, and others.

Or, how about the Kaleidoscope Meadow Mix, composed of various colored fescues, Forget-Me-Nots, Strawberry Clover and other wildflowers?

Local garden stores offer wildflower mixes, as well. Then, again, you could just plant your yard in vegetables as an edible foodscape!

Now is the time to plan how you want your garden.

Edible flowers

Try Nasturtiums. They are beautiful flowers, offered in various colors, that not only work to deter pests, such as cucumber beetles, squash bugs and caterpillars, but they can be eaten, used as garnish to brighten up salads or as a side for standard fare (and conversation starter!).

The flowers are spicy flavored with a peppery taste. Since you are growing organic, without poisons, you can nibble them right in the garden (I do!).

Pollinators

Another idea is to plant flowers that attract pollinators. Here’s a list:

Wild lupine, smooth penstemon, Ohio spiderwort, wild bergamot, purple prairie clover, pale purple coneflower, Culver’s root, butterfly milkweed, prairie blazing star, purple giant hyssop, New England aster and giant sunflower.

These suggestions are from a new book that’s chock full of interesting info titled Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting America’s Bees and Butterflies by The Xerces Society (Storey Publishing; $29.95).

Another good book on bees for beginners (and foodies!) is just out in paperback: Honeybee: Lessons From an Accidental Beekeeper by C. Marina Marchese (Black Dog & Leventhall Publishers; $14.95).

It details a woman’s education from knowing nothing about bees to becoming a master “beek,” with lots of eye-opening culinary and medicinal lore learned along the way.

I should have mentioned last week that the henbit (little purple flowers growing everywhere right now) is also an edible wild plant. Here’s a photo and salad recipe: http://bit.ly/ePSri4

Websites

A great column in The New York Times by Mark Bittman, exposing the inequities of the agricultural subsidy system: http://nyti.ms/gos66i.

A primer on subsidies, explaining types and purposes by the Environmental Working Group. (Also, you can enter your zip code and see who in your neighborhood is receiving a USDA farm subsidy and how much): http://bit.ly/fqor64.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.