Garnishing a plate with plants and flowers isn’t just reserved for restaurant experiences.
Suburban and rural foraging has become a popular way to incorporate ordinary plants and flowers into culinary delights, lifting the flavour and creating visual impact. Grow your own edible varieties or forage within your neighbour’s garden. As a general rule, avoid high-traffic areas or council maintained nature strips as plants are often sprayed.
Try your hand at using edible flowers with this easy recipe of Tropical Ice Pops by Barker’s of Geraldine.
Use the flowers of culinary English Lavender to garnish a bowl of vanilla ice-cream. Its sweet fragrance will take your dessert to another level.
White Pepper flowers
White Pepper blooms are the flowers of Rocket and give a nutty flavour to your meal. Add them to savoury dishes like a frittata or platter of cheeses and terrines.
The leaves of wild fennel give off a distinct aniseed aroma and are ideal for stews, casseroles and salads.
If you have lawn, you’ll have no trouble sourcing dandelions. Use the yellow flowers in a tea, salad or try baking with the petals to make sweet cookies.
Stinging nettle can work well in a homemade pesto, a pasta dish or pie, or boil it up for an earthy tea. Just wear gloves to avoid the unpleasant sting, which disappears once steeped in a pot of simmering water.
You can eat the entire nasturtium plant including the flowers, leaves, steam and seeds. Use in salads or as a garnish, or dry the seeds for a sweet and peppery spice.
Don’t miss out on using the vibrant red flowers of the sage shrub. Sprinkle them on fresh pineapple for an added bit of fragrance.
The bright colours of marigold flowers are a great way to add colour to your dish. They also attract pests and insects making marigolds a great garden companion.
The fleshy, succulent purslane leaves are great for salads, sandwiches, soups or tacos. Like many leafy greens, they’re packed with dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins.
Pick your neighbour’s roses (with their permission of course) to add a delicate fragrance to your desserts, syrups and pastries.
Near shallow water, you’ll find wild watercress which has peppery notes similar to horseradish. It’s great paired with beef in a sandwich, sautéed or thrown into a soup. Best foraged from a clean water source.
Warning: if foraging for edible plants and flowers, don’t assume you can eat everything. If you don’t know the plant variety, don’t pick it.