I think my favorite salad ever has to be the one I had last summer at our neighborhood restaurant, Palo Santo. It was made up of greens and a rainbow of edible blossoms from the restaurant rooftop. It had a jewel-like gorgeousness and an unexpected pop of flavors and textures.
Edible flowers range in taste from vaguely soapy to lemony to spicy. Most people are familiar with stuffed and fried squash blossoms. I've had candied violets, made lavender limeade, and I'm growing nasturtium on my roof, both for the blossoms (good in salads) and the buds, which you supposedly can use like green peppercorns.
But that's just the beginning of the edible flower world. There are some 100 edible varieties out there. They're an effortless way to add some earthy glamor to your meal the next time you entertain.
My two rules of thumb are:
1. Whether homegrown or store-bought, use only organic -- no sticky pesticides, which are impossible to wash off without ruining the blossom.
2. Some blossoms are poisonous, so when in doubt, look it up. North Carolina State University has a useful guide.
Who knows what edible blossoms you already have growing in your backyard?
Have you tried edible flowers?