There's hidden potential in your survival garden than just fruits and veggies. You can also grow a colorful array of edible flowers to season your dishes, add color to your desserts, freshen up your tea, and even ease everyday aches and pains. Edible flowers are also hardly a new trend and date back to the beginning of time, with research showing ancient cultures used them in food preparation, as aroma enhancers, and to add flavor and add color and style to their dishes.
Of course, you can’t just go looking for flowers on your property and start popping them in your mouth as a snack. Edible flowers can be delicious and benefit your health, but they also need to be non-poisonous and safe to eat.
Ready to try some for yourself? Here's a rundown of 12 of the best edible flowers for your survival garden to create a more sustainable and independent lifestyle.
You may already eat the delicious nutty flavor of sunflower seeds, especially when roasted and lightly salted. But there are many other ways to enjoy this edible flower, such as tossing them into salads or turning them into a new treat.
Sunflower petals, leaves, and stalks are all edible and can be sautéed like spinach or baked into crispy chips. The stalks are crunchy and satisfying, much like celery, or can be used to dip into peanut butter as a tasty treat. You can add the sprouts to a sandwich to join your alfalfa or collect the oil for salad dressing and fry up some food.
2) English Lavender
English Lavender is a fragrant-smelling flowering plant that can add flavor to food and beverages. Or try them with some homemade ice cream for a sweet, creamy, and floral flavor. Fresh or dried lavender also pairs well with salads, teas, and cocktails and can even serve as an edible garnish to lamb dishes.
Beyond how incredible lavender can taste, it's also used in many herbal remedies to reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression, post-surgery pain, dementia, and more. Even the lavender oil itself is helpful as an astringent to clean your skin or freshen up your favorite natural cleaner. However, lavender oil isn't always safe to consume, especially for small children.
3) Echinacea Purple Coneflower
All parts of Echinacea Purple Coneflower are edible, but people commonly use its flower buds to enhance a refreshing herbal tea. Before you throw out the rest of the flower, people also use them as an official remedy or tincture for a variety of ailments:
- Stomach aches
- Sore throats
- Prevent the common cold
- Respiratory ailments
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn's disease
- Vaginal yeast
When you consume echinacea in your tea or other drink, you may see notable changes in your anxiety and stress. Some people also add them to diabetic diets to help control blood sugar levels.
4) St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort is well-respected as a medicinal herb to treat depression, insomnia, lung ailments, and kidney problems and heal wounds. Beyond its medicinal fortitude, a garnish of St. John's Wort adds more color and flavor to your salad. Stick to the herb and flowers, as the rest of the plant may not agree with you and cause digestive issues.
5) Cosmos - Bright Lights
Cosmos Bright Lights are a great way to keep pests away and serve as a companion plant to help squash blooming vegetables and attract pollinators. Beyond curious bees, nectar-feeding bats also enjoy a garden with cosmos, which can help your garden thrive. You can also pick the colorful flowers of your cosmos to add as a garnish to your salad or meat dishes.
6) German Chamomile
German Chamomile is the cornerstone of anyone's tea drawer but can also be used as a culinary ingredient. The leaves are bitter and can be used sparingly in a salad. Or use the sweet blossoms to add to ice cream, custard, and baked goods.
As a medicinal flower, add Chamomile to treat upset stomachs and assist as a natural sleep aid. You can also try it with soaps, lotions, and cosmetics as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal skin care herb.
Anise is commonly used to flavor licorice but also enhances alcohol, liqueurs, candies, meats, dairy products, and more. For nearly 4,000 years, this edible flower has been harvested to treat digestive problems, ease thirst, and soothe toothaches. Save the oil for your soaps and lotions, or use it as a medicinal supplement in your survival reserve.
Calendula is commonly used as a natural food dye or an edible garnish to dress up dinner. This edible flower is also used to decorate celebratory cakes and desserts to add life and color. It also serves practical medicinal uses to improve digestion when sipping tea.
Like many edible flowers, Calendula may have antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties to treat skin conditions like rashes, dry skin, eczema, insect bites, wounds, sore throats, and cuts. Some people also use the flower to help slow down the development of wrinkles and keep your skin feeling fresh and hydrated.
9) Achillea - Golden Arrow
Achillea, also known as Golden Arrow, comes packed with a strong flavor and takes just a little to add some pizazz to tea, salads, and soups. It can also be used as a substitute for hops in beer. Although there is no clinical data that Golden Yarrow can be used to treat medical conditions, many rely on it to help shorten colds and flu.
Others use it to reduce stomach cramps and headaches and apply it topically for skin rashes or itching. It's even thought to help stop bleeding and lower high blood pressure while improving overall circulation.
10) Bachelor's Button
Bachelor's Button flavor profile blends both the sweet and spicy flavor as a powerful garnish. Use them as a decoration for cakes and desserts or try them for their believed anti-inflammatory properties and as an oral rinsing agent to help with sore and bleeding gums. Some people also swear by their detoxifying properties to help with UTI infections, liver issues, and occasional constipation or stomach ulcers.
11) Achillea White Yarrow
Similar to Golden Yarrow, Achillea, Achillea White Yarrow is also strong in flavor that's an aromatic addition to tea, salads, and soups or a substitute for hops. Beyond its leaves and flowers, the oil contains anti-inflammatory properties for use on the skin to treat blemishes and rashes.
Add Golden Yarrow to your collection as a fever reduction or to shorten the duration of a cold and flu. It's also thought to help relieve problematic stomachs and skin rashes.
12) Caraway - Common
Every part of the Caraway plant is edible and ready to eat, but people usually indulge in its tasty seeds. This aromatic herb is often tossed into baked goods, stews, and soups to soak up the flavor and health benefits. People also reach for Caraway to help reduce or prevent gas and bloating.
What to Know About Eating Edible Flowers
Before you eat any edible flowers, make sure you know they're actually safe to consume. Even sampling a stray flower in your food forest could make you sick and endanger your health. And it probably goes without saying not to treat the plants or flowers you plan to eat with pesticides or chemicals. Otherwise, you could end up ingesting toxins into your body.
Keep in mind that when you consume herbs and flowers, you're relying on best practices and consumer-based research. It's also important to know that the FDA generally does not generally approve or recognize most medicinal plants for use.
Your best bet is to buy edible flower seeds from a reputable retailer that clearly explains their culinary and medicinal use on their website and packaging. Seed Armory sells everything from sunflower seeds to Yellow Arrow to help maximize the potential of your survival garden.
Survival gardening is more than what plants to grow and eat; it's also about taking care of your health. Add edible flowers to your garden and use them as a culinary garnish or to ease symptoms of everything from headaches to stomach pains. Ready to grow your garden? Start browsing our survival-grade seed vaults, bat houses, tools, and soil amendments for a thriving survival garden.