The Manscape: Edible Flowers For Sinners

Words by
Byron Smith
| August 14, 2016

So you messed up a little and now owe that somebody a bunch of flowers? You’ve got a couple of traditional options up your sleeve: Buy a shiny bunch of gerberas from the florist or hand-pick an assortment of curb-side beauties on your walk home. I’ve got another idea though, and I reckon it’s guaranteed to wash your sins away – a bouquet of edible flowers.

Image © Ashely Natasha Jones
Image © Ashely Natasha Jones

Whether or not your bouquet helps redeem your sins and sets you on the path to forgiveness depends on the scale of your wrong-doings, but I reckon a bunch of edible flowers goes the extra mile – communicating love, apology and… deliciousness.

Not only will your sins (hopefully!) be redeemed with the decorative bouquet, but your gift could also be used for a herbal tea after dinner – if you’re still getting dinner, of course. Or perhaps you could whip up a dessert made extra sweet with a garnish of edible feijoa petals, English lavender flowers or sweet fennel pollen?

So, how do you know what flowers are edible? Those of you who’ve seen the film Into the Wild know identification is key.

You don’t have to be Charles Darwin to impress with your botanical knowledge. Edible flowers are simply tasty and attractive flowers from certain plant species – mostly herbs and vegetables (check out the list below for ideas).

These crowd pleasing plants have unique flavours, aromas and textures which, when presented in a bouquet and on a plate, identify you as somebody who can survive in the wild and therefore would make a good mate. These are the sort of traits – chef, botanist, wildflower connoisseur, herbal tea maker, garnish queen or bouquet king – we all want in our partners in sin, right?

Image © Alex Carlyle
Image © Alex Carlyle
Image © Alex Carlyle
Image © Alex Carlyle

GROWING EDIBLE FLOWERS

Have a crack at growing your own edible flowers. Pick a spot with at least 6 hours of sun per day (this is a massive generalisation but most edible plants need this), use quality potting mix or build your own beautiful garden soil. Practice observation, perseverance and plant your herbs, flowers and vegetables all together to create a more natural environment for biodiversity – a must for organic gardens.

Also, don’t use pesticides on the plants you aim to eat! If they aren’t your plants (perhaps you found them on the neighbourhood poaching circuit?) then you can’t be sure what they’ve been treated with – avoid them for this reason.

Flowers vary in taste depending on the soil quality, season, available water and how much love you give them.

Pick flowers and add directly to your food or the bouquet (depending on your sins) before they lose any freshness, or leave the stem on and pop in a vase for later. A quick rinse under cold water before using won’t hurt either. Some flowers can dry out completely and are still perfect to use for herbal tea and or flower arrangements such as chamomile, lavender or for a strong peppermint hit try Australia’s native peppermint, Mentha australis.

Image © Ashely Natasha Jones
Image © Ashely Natasha Jones

WHAT TO GROW?

There’s plenty of easy to grow plants with edible flowers that would be perfect for a bouquet. Here’s some of my favourites:

  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Elderberry
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Day lily
  • Nasturtium
  • Thyme
  • Rocket
  • Borage
  • Bergamot
  • Dill
  • Marigold
  • Dandelion
  • Violet
  • Mustard
  • Pineapple sage
  • Sunflower petals
  • Zucchini flowers

All these beautiful plants have been getting people back in the good books for thousands of years, so why not continue the tradition and plant your lucky seeds in the ground this spring!

P.S. Always check with your naturopath/GP if you’re taking medication, are lactating, pregnant or have allergies when using unusual culinary plants.

P.P.S. Never eat a plant unless you know exactly what it is. And be careful – some plants like potatoes have edible parts but the rest of the plant is actually poisonous. Check, then check again, then eat.

Byron Smith is our new Manscape contributor for August – October. He’s the director of Urban Growers, a Sydney based urban farming company helping  people reconnect with their food by growing their own! Urban Growers build, design, and maintain edible gardens all over the city – from small courtyards to city rooftops.

All images supplied by Urban Growers.

Image © Ashely Natasha Jones
Image © Ashely Natasha Jones

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