Decoration or Dinner? 5 Flowering Plants That You Can Add to Your a Salad

Growing up wandering the aisles of my Uncle Gene’s greenhouses taught me one important lesson: plants may be pretty, but they are also good snacks.

House plants serve many purposes.

  • They provide that nice pop of green next to your gold curtains.
  • They’re a good barometer for if you’re ready to get a cat (or a dog).
  • They clean the air you breathe 

But flowering plants have another, lesser-appreciated benefit – besides just sitting there and looking pretty, of course.  Many can be trimmed and added to your salad, soup, or sauté.

Nasturtium

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Photo by Pezibear on Pixabay

The flat, disk-shaped leaves and the bright yellow-orange blooms of these little beauties are both edible. They add a peppery zip to any salad. Or, use the flower to decorate the plate of a special meal.

The dwarf varieties are best for growing in containers indoors. They like full sun, and can take a little abuse if you don’t have much of a green thumb. If you have a bigger outdoor space, they will spread, and grace you with lots of free plants.

Chives

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Photo by Pitsch on Pixabay

These green stalks grow easily on nearly any windowsill, but prefer full sun. Most people don’t realize that they sprout a pretty purple bloom that adds a delicate oniony-flavor to sauces or scrambled eggs.

My favorite use is to trim them into plain cream cheese for a yummy spread or dip. They are like a mild scallion when mixed into a salad, or chopped into a soup.

Pansies

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Photo by MrGajowy3 on Pixabay

Pansies are often seen in tiny ceramic pots as the favor for a springtime baby shower. That’s because they are vibrant and like the sunshine and cool temperatures of April (read: don’t set them right next to your radiator).

You can tear off the petals to toss with your mixed greens for a grassy, almost minty, note, or use the whole bloom as an edible garnish for cocktail night or a special cake.

Dandelion

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Photo by makamuki0 on Pixabay

Though dandelions are commonly seen as weeds, every part of this plant is edible – roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. They’re often sprouting in the cracks of the sidewalk, or among the grass of your yard, so for a beginner gardener, they make a hardy choice in a pot.

Dandelion greens have a bitter flavor akin to Swiss chard or radicchio when uncooked or sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil. The flowers are a treat when battered and fried. The root has a history as a homeopathic remedy when made into tea. Some believe it improves liver function, digestion, and even skin problems.

Calendula (Pot Marigolds)

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Photo by olinuez on Pixabay

 

Calendula thrive in sun or shade. Place them any nook, but be sure not to over-water.

These bright orange petals can be mixed in with a salad uncooked, or dried then used in place of saffron seasoning. It is used as an alternative remedy for certain skin problems and may speed wound healing when made into a salve or tincture.

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