This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.
Beautiful Garden Plants That are Edible Too
We all love to make our yards beautiful but it is nice when we can make them functional too. While starting your own mini farm is not on many gardeners’ lists, you may be surprised by what plants you can eat that are attractive too. Here are a few examples:
1. Lotus– If you have a water garden or pond then you may have a few Lotus pods. Grown for their beautiful flowers these water loving plants can also be eaten. The nuts that are produced in large seed pods in fall and winter are great to eat raw or roasted. They can even be ground into flour. Tubers which grow at the ends of runners underwater can be harvested in late summer and fall and used much like a potato. The tubers are great candied with a little ginger. Be sure to remove the green centers of the nuts before eating as they have a bitter flavor. A Lotus can be differentiated from a Lilly Pad because the pad of a Lotus is round, without a cleft.
2. Canna Lilly – Also known as Cannons, these tall flowers are prolific in many yards. With leaves like a banana tree and big, beautiful multicolored flowers many gardeners love this hardy plant. However you can also eat some parts of it. The young shoots are edible as well as the tuber-like roots. You can use the large leaves like you would banana leaves to wrap food to be cooked. The tubers have high starch content and make great flour. Cut them up into thin disks and let dry. Then crumble into a bowl of water. The starch will sink while the fiber floats. Discard the floating parts and let the starch dry completely before grinding into flour.
3. Alyssum– The delicate white flowers of this plant make it a common feature in spring landscaping as the heat tends to kill them off. Although it is also known as “Sweet Alyssum” it is actually related to the mustard family and has a similar taste. Both the flowers and the young, green seedpods are edible. They have a taste similar to horseradish and can favor dishes. The leaves are also edible and can be used like mustard greens.
4. Amaranth– The red variety of this large leaved plant is often used in garden decoration. They also have a spike of tiny, clustered flowers the same color as their leaves. Both the leaves and the flowers can be eaten. Young leaves make a great spinach substitute in salads and older leaves taste good cooked. The seeds of this plant have a nutty flavor when eaten raw or they can be roasted and then ground for a nutritious and delicious gluten free flour. The seeds of this plant contain the amino acid lysine which is very rare for plants but vital for human health. A single plant can produce as many as 100,000 seeds, and the red variety is just as productive as the green ones.
5. Rose –We all knows what a rose looks like and smells like, but did you know you could eat parts of your rose plant as well? Rose hips and flowers can be eaten. Rose hips are the bulging areas that form below the flower. They have very high concentrations of vitamin C and can be made into jam, jelly or tea. Rose petals make a colorful addition to salads and can also make a wonderful light flavored jelly.
6. Redbud – The last one on our list is actually a tree. The redbud tree is used as decoration in landscaping duet to the beautiful display of pink flowers in the spring. The flowers themselves are edible and have a sweet flavor. Opened flowers are sweeter than buds. The seed pods that form after the flowers fall are also great cooked up in stir fries and the like. However after a couple of weeks they become tough and unpalatable, so harvest early.
- 52 Wild Plants You Can Eat (wakingtimes.com)