Flowers in the salad

Is it just a fad, to make the plate look pretty? Well, it certainly does that, but it can do a lot more besides. Lots of flowers are edible, but some just wouldn’t taste right – lavender and lettuce, anyone? – and others are the wrong size, shape or texture. That said, there’s plenty of scope.
Although little tastes of this and that don’t do a lot medicinally, they do tickle up your tastebuds, and that in turn means that your digestive system will be up and ready to do its work. We already use leaves in this way, with sprigs of fennel or sorrel, snippets of chives and so on, so why not flowers? Scent is one clue to their possible uses: if it’s aromatic, it will have some action. And those little bursts of intense flavour will offset the cooler background tastes in a green salad, as well as pleasing your eyes.
Nasturtiums are popular for their vivid colours and peppery taste, but why not try marigold petals, wild rose petals, the cooler colours of elderflowers and cranesbill, the blue of borage and chicory or the purple of thyme, rosemary or sage? Culpeper said that marigolds ‘draw out evil humours’ when you look at them, and we love flowers for that reason, but they can give us their virtues in more down-to-earth ways as well.