Edible flowering plants

Edibles in my flower border: All parts of the daylily plant are edible, and the white musk mallow makes great salad. (Musk mallow flowers are commonly pink -- and they are just as edible.

We have this idea that a flowering plant is for decoaration, not dinner.  I’m discovering  that this isn’t necessarily so — and why not?  Both broccoli and cauliflower are flower buds. I recently read somewhere that musk mallow is excellent for salads — and indeed it is.  The leaves are sort of interchangble with lettuce — that is, they are bland tasting and crunchy and green.  I’ve been chopping them up and making salads with about 2/3 letuce, 1/3 mallow leaves, and even my son, who is suspicious of unusual food, made no comment.    Next I tried adding the little round buds, which are sweetish, and the only comment I got was about one that had the petals showing.  You can also use the whole flowers, but I don’t like the way the very thin petals stick to my gums, so I stick to the buds.
    Musk Mallow is usually pink flowered, but for some reason I have been getting a number of white ones — they self-seed if you aren’t diligent about deadheading before they go to seed.   Being none too diligent, I have them popping up here and there, which makes it a perfect plant to use for dinner.   I am going to try daylilies for dinner next.  My mother eats the flowers in the garden, straight off the plant, and she’s right — they are nice and crunchy and sweet.  I was reading my copy of Euell Gibbons’  Stalking the Wild Asparagus  yesterday, and apparently you can eat the tubers fried, the young shoots in the spring as a vegetable, and all stages of the flower:  buds fried, flowers in salad or battered and deep fried, and the withered flowers in soup, stew, etc.  I bravely tried a withered flower yesterday in the garden, and it was good, rather to my surprise — according to my predjudices, dead flowers should be garbage, not food!  Apparently daylily flowers are big in Chinese cooking, and you can buy them dried.  I will have to look it up.  

A picture of the pink version of musk mallow (Malva moschata) with a closeup of the leaves.


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