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Nasturtiums are not only one of the easiest flowers to grow, they're versatile in the kitchen. All parts are edible, and they have a somewhat sharp and peppery taste that may be unexpected.
They're a colorful addition to green salads. You can also chop up the leaves and petals and add them to butters or vinegars. Use them as a final decorative touch as well, whether pressed into a round of goat cheese or topping a chocolate cake.
The flowers of all types of roses can be used in a number of ways. You can candy the petals; include them in salads or tea sandwiches; add them to jelly, jam, butter and honey; brew tea or use them to flavor sugar (remove the petals before using the sugar).
Be sure to taste first, as the flavors vary greatly from rose to rose — a general rule of thumb is that the deeper the color, the stronger the taste. It's also a good idea to remove the white base of the flower, as it is generally bitter.
Members of the viola family, from pansies and johnny-jump-ups to violets, are a sweet edible flower with a hint of wintergreen. Add individual petals to salads, tea sandwiches or cheese; top cupcakes with whole flowers.
Candied violets have long held a place of honor in the dessert world, but plain violets can also be added to sugar to infuse it with a delicate flavor.
Though they're best known for their perfume, lavender flowers are also a well-known kitchen staple. Use them as a garnish or in salads; add them to syrup, vinegar or lemonade; or bake them into sugar cookies.
Warning: Do not ingest lavender oil.
Dianthus (also known as pinks) have a sweet, almost clovelike flavor. Use as a garnish, or add to salads or butters. These miniature carnations can be bitter, so taste them first.
Tuberous begonias shine, whether planted in the garden or hanging in baskets, but you can also pull them into the kitchen. The flowers have a light yet crisp taste that works well in salads and sandwiches, and they're also great as a garnish. You can even eat them with a dip.
Warning: Use only tuberous begonia hybrids. They also contain oxalic acid, so don't eat them if you have gout, kidney stones or rheumatism.
Unexpected Edible Gardens