About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Eating flowers

... seems to be getting fashionable. This presents me with a dilemma; I despise fashion but love learning about new things I can eat. The latter won out when a neighbour gave me a little leaflet she received with her seed order, all about edible flowers.

It seems to me that most edible flowers are a bit of a disappointment. The petals are flimsy and pretty tasteless, being merely advertisements for the little drop of nectar in the middle. Dandelions are a lot more substantial than most, being nearly all middle, and nasturtiums have a peppery flavour throughout the petals. I've now discovered a new addition to my short list of flowers worth eating: Tulips.

My tulips have taken a bit of a battering in the recent weather.
That one at the front is lunch.

Tulip petals are far more substantial than most - they have to be to stand up like that - and they have a savoury taste reminiscent of peas and beans. Even better, they can be harvested towards the end of the flower's life without much sign of deterioration, so you can enjoy the flower and then when it's over, eat it.

Chicken noodles with tulip petals and wild garlic

Not only are they tasty, but they look so pretty!


  1. I saw a link to the same leaflet (I assume) on another blog yesterday and was surprised by tulips as I always thought they were poisonous.

    If you like tulip flowers you'll like day lilies (Hemerocallis) (absolutely and definitely not ordinary lilies!)

    Son and I ate lots in our holiday cottage last year- we only ate the flowers, but the whole plant is edible with varying degrees of tastiness. There's lots of info on the net, but here's an example http://honest-food.net/2010/06/29/dining-on-daylilies/

    We found the petals quite substantial and with that slightly pea type taste. Alys Fowler says you can use dried flowers as a thickener as the Chinese (main eaters of day lilies) do by drying already spent flowers, which I may try this year. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/03/alys-fowler-day-lilies

    1. Ooh, thanks for that. I'm not sure whether I have day lilies in my garden, they might be ordinary lilies. Hmm, that's not a risk I'd want to be taking! I'll have to keep an eye on what I have got this summer, then maybe buy some day lilies that look distinctly different, to make sure I can tell them apart next year.

  2. That's fascinating! Like Hazel I thought they were poisonous.

  3. Me too! I guess it's just the bulbs then? I am going to have a munch in a moment when I go outside....

    I knew abut day lillies but find it hard to pick my precious flowers as I prefer to see them looking lovely in situ but may be tempted to have a taste test of one when they finally flower!

    Thanks for the info, Rachel.

  4. Rachel, the day lilies grow from corms not bulbs, if that's any help. The only 'proper' lilies I have grow from a stem with leaves on (they look like a kind of sea anemone at the moment) whereas the day lilies have lots of long sword type leaves (though not as rigid as iris') and separate flower stems. They look like a bigger version of crocosmia. I'm sure that's no help at all...

    Mx3, last year I avoided eating the flowers that are past it, but from what I've read since they taste exactly the same as the open flowers and can be dried and ground to thicken soups or battered and deep fried if they look a bit unappetizing as they are. If you're going to try drying them there should be less risk of moulding if you use already wilted flowers. And it saves eating all the attractive blooms!


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