Pansies and Other Edible Flowers
This morning I woke to the sound of my daughter banging her crib against the wall. I try to wake up early so I can get some writing in before my real day starts. I am also a full time mom, and I don't just have one daughter-I have twin girls. All in all, the odds of me having some time to myself are pretty low-even at 5 am.
They are terrific little girls though and I am teaching them about plants. As a botanist how could I not? They love leaves and flowers and grass. When we go for a walk I pick raspberries for them to taste. Now, they think every berry is for picking-and eating. That includes berries that are better for birds, not humans. Right now they are too young to understand the difference, but they will soon.
I come from a family of gardeners and landscape architects. From a young age I have always loved plants, especially flowers. It seems that I have always known what's edible and what's not. When my daughters eat the impatiens flowers, I know they are safe. I was reminded the other day that not everyone knows these things.
Some people find the idea of eating flowers in a salad, soup, or on pastries a strange one. I suspect this is true, but why? We eat other plant parts-stems (asparagus), leaves (spinach), roots (carrots), and buds (cabbage). Is it because they are pretty and look like decorations or because it is not common to use flowers as a food? Or, as someone else pointed out some flowers are poisonous and it's better to err on the side of caution if you're not sure. Good point!
Why not try some edible flowers for yourself? Tucked away in the produce section of the grocery store you will probably find a few packages of nasturtiums or pansies. Of course you could always sneak over to your neighbor's garden and snip some of her flowers. I'll leave it up to you.
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