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An ‘edible garden’ quickly brings vegetables, fruit or herbs to mind. But there are actually many more edible plants than you might think! Plant them in your garden and enjoy them both there and on your plate. Give them a try: you’ll be impressed by the delightful flavours, aromas and colours of these superfoods.
Top 10 edible plants
You might not be aware of it, but there’s a very good chance that you already have some of these edible plants in your garden. Use them to prepare some really delicious things like flower-scented syrup, salads with flower petals, or blanched plant shoots. Here are our top 10 edible plants:
- Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
- Common Bugloss (Anchusa officinalis)
- Giant hyssops (Agastache varieties)
- Lavender (Lavendula officinalis)
- Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum)
- Pimpernel (Sanquisorba officinalis)
- Lungwort (Pulmonaria angustifolia)
- Horned Violet (Viola cornuta)
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Peach-leaved Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia)
Snacking on edible plants
Single-flowered daylilies (Hemerocallis varieties) are perfect examples of delicious edible plants. Every part of them is edible, even the roots. The petals are ready-to-eat snacks: just pick and eat. The flowers can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. The anise-flavoured leaves of Giant Hyssop (Agastache varieties) and young Columbine leaves (Aquilegia varieties) add something special to salads. And did you know that some edible plants can add flavour to a pesto or herb butter?
Harvesting every year
What’s nice about edible plants is that they require so little maintenance and emerge again year after year. This is because they are perennial plants (or just perennials for short). This means you can harvest and enjoy your edible plants for years to come.
- How about dressing up a beverage with something special? When making ice cubes, add a few smaller edible flowers such as pansies (Viola), chamomile flowers (Chamaemelum) or borage blossoms (Borago) to the water before freezing.
- Many edible flowers can also be dried and then added to oils or vinegars. You can even toss them in granulated sugar for giving desserts or a cake a personal touch.
- Forget about store-bought flavour enhancers: instead, use lovage leaves (Levisticum officinale) to ‘soup up’ your soup.
- You’ll find lots of interesting recipes for using edible plants on the internet. All you need to make a lavender-flavoured syrup, for example, are dried lavender flowers, water and sugar. Delicious not just for adding to water to make a sweet drink, but also in tea, on yoghurt and on ice cream!
- Important: use only those parts of the plants that you know for certain are edible.