Go to the farmers’ market sometime this week when the sun is out and you’ll find women picking up peonies and lilacs by the armful. But me — I’m the type of girl who prefers buying flowers that I can eat.
I’d rather get two containers of edible blossoms at $5 a pop, than a single bouquet of anemones a few stands down at the farmers’ market. Edible flowers are my favorite easy dinner party trick during these warmer months. A handful of neon orange nasturtiums can transform a bag of Trader Joe’s arugula into a fancy-pants salad that surprises friends. Snip some yellow kale flowers onto whatever beige-colored dish you made for dinner and the meal suddenly feels delightful.
These weeks between spring and summer, there’s an especially large assortment of edible flowers at the Union Square Greenmarket (some only around for a week or two more). Windfall Farms is my go-to spot for buying these special blossoms.
It’s best to go earlier in the morning to snatch up the unique stuff (and then rush home before they start wilting). Here’s an array of flowers my 4-year-old son Miles and I bought and tried last week:
For a weekend, my kid and I put flowers on everything we ate. We nibbled on the petals of each kind to figure out their flavor and what they might be good on.
Sunday bagels with lox cream cheese got a generous amount of cilantro flowers and Mexican mint marigold on top.
My son covered our salads with nasturtiums and strawberry blooms. We decorated homemade cucumber pickles with some borage (perfect because the blueish-purple blooms taste faintly like cucumbers) and pea flowers. We sprinkled broken-up chive blossoms (which are nice and oniony), arugula flowers and kale blossoms (which taste like broccoli) over a mustardy potato salad.
Even a snack of crackers with beet hummus and almond butter sandwiches got the floral treatment.
And a galette we threw together with leftover pie crust and leftover berries got the last of the pansies before they finally wilted. Everything we decorated with flowers those few days tasted a bit more like a treat. Prettier. Yummier. More special. And much more memorable.