This is my favorite time of year to include a big handful of herbs and flowers in every meal. Herbs have fully leafed out and are starting to grow tender new leaves. The flowers in bloom are ever evolving, and you’d be surprised to learn how many of them are edible. While we’re waiting for our first peas, beans, cucumbers, and carrots, I love highlighting the wonderful flavors of backyard and garden herbs and flowers.
Make tea: Both herbs and flowers make wonderful tea. Standard flavors like chamomile and mint are easy to grow in your garden and are best harvested at this time of year. Other familiar blooms and leaves also make great tea! Try red clover, stinging nettle, sage, rosemary, raspberry leaf, lemon balm, catnip, or rose petals. Spices from your kitchen like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon make great additions to tea blends. Want to dig deeper? Get a book or look online to learn the healing properties of your favorite herbs and flowers.
Make Herb Pesto, Dip, Sauce, or Dressing: I’m always surprised by how big a bundle of pungent herbs can be used to made a small dish of delicious “pesto.” Try blending the herbs in your garden with sprouted sunflower seeds, olive oil, parmesan, and lemon juice for a delicious pesto. Add a small amount of chicken broth or coconut milk for a wonderful sauce to top your meals. Add more oil and vinegar, and perhaps some plain yogurt, mustard, and garlic to make a delicious green dressing. As a bonus, herbs are packed with nutrients and a variety of healing properties.
Garnish Generously: Flower petals and finely chopped herbs made delicious and beautiful garnishes for meals and toppings for salads. If you don’t have many choices in your garden, wander into your yard (make sure there are no pesticides or pet waste!) or nearby fields. Dandelion greens and petals, clover petals, violets, wood sorrel leaves, purslane, chick weed and lambs quarters are all nutrient-packed wild leaves, “weeds,” and flowers that are plentiful and tasty.