Start off a few tasty bloomers now to use in a variety of dishes
We don't always think of our flowering plants as edible - it's too easy to section off in our minds that veg are for eating and flowers are pretty to look at - but for thousands of years gardeners have been using blooms in medicines and cooking, or to use as edible garnishes.
Thanks to restaurants and cookery shows it's a much more popular ingredient these days, but it's an age-old practical use of our garden plants. What tends to be good about some flowers - those that bloom from our veg plants - is they often taste like the veg in question. Pea flowers for example, have a lovely fresh pea taste, while runner bean blooms taste mildly beany. This is a good thing when it comes to radish and rocket flowers as the crop itself is usually spicy and strong, but the flowers are a pleasant milder version. Flowering at the moment are calendula or nasturtium, so pick these now to give your cooking a brightly coloured and peppery kick.
Always know what you're picking to eat, use the flowers straight away, and, of course, don't use any chemicals on them! See this week's issue of Garden News to find out what we recommend you get going now, either for late blooms, overwintering or some quick and easy croppers.