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The many uses of flower petals

 
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Hello there! I'm trying to make use of the freebie flowering plants that were either already part of the 1/4-acre plot when my husband and I bought it or volunteered once we removed the turf grass. The two biggies this spring: lilac and violets. Here's what I've come up with for them so far:

Violets:
- they are not the aromatic variety, so mainly as a natural dye and edible

Lilacs:
- Syrup, edible, tea, sachet, infused oil, vinegar

I've written this up here:
https://www.catintheflock.com/2020/05/making-use-of-all-those-pretty-petals-our-first-permaculture-harvest.html

What am I missing?
Violet-tea.jpg
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Location: Piedmont, NC
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forest garden homestead
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Violet leaves are a delightful addition to salads and i understand the tougher leaves are decent potherbs. I think they make an excellent ground cover, although i've had rabbits denude twenty five square feet overnight.

I've a lilac too -- not the abundance of lilac you apparently have -- and did not know the flowers were edible! Mixing the lilac with the violets is brilliant. I';ve been trying to source some of the scented violets, Viola odorata. Someone said they were selling bare root plants, but i have begun to worry they did not know the difference from V odorata and V sororia. I'm going to be cranky if i've bought more V sororia.  I think my seed starting skills have gotten better so i think i might have success with the cold stratification to start from seed. I'm thinking about getting a white variety and then i will be able to visually identify the scented flowers - it's such a strong scent i think i could use it with the purple blossoms providing the visual impact.

Anyhow, great blog post!
 
pollinator
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Fragrant rose petals are used in Persian cooking. They’re used in sweet and savoury dishes.

Rose petals also make rose water, which is essential to many middle-eastern and North Indian recipes.
 
steward
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Jellies!!!



If you think low growing flowers like dandelions are too fussy to harvest, check our this awesome picker! Link below has a brief video of it in action.



https://www.facebook.com/charlie.little.39/posts/3419404474742951?__cft__

I found the picker too late for my own use this year. Next spring, you can be sure I'll be busy during dandelion season! I'll be trying it out on viloets too!
 
Lisa Brunette
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Judielaine Bush wrote:Violet leaves are a delightful addition to salads and i understand the tougher leaves are decent potherbs. I think they make an excellent ground cover, although i've had rabbits denude twenty five square feet overnight.

I've a lilac too -- not the abundance of lilac you apparently have -- and did not know the flowers were edible! Mixing the lilac with the violets is brilliant. I';ve been trying to source some of the scented violets, Viola odorata. Someone said they were selling bare root plants, but i have begun to worry they did not know the difference from V odorata and V sororia. I'm going to be cranky if i've bought more V sororia.  I think my seed starting skills have gotten better so i think i might have success with the cold stratification to start from seed. I'm thinking about getting a white variety and then i will be able to visually identify the scented flowers - it's such a strong scent i think i could use it with the purple blossoms providing the visual impact.

Anyhow, great blog post!



Thank you so much for the response and compliments. Let me know how you do with your odorata variety - I'd be worried, too! By the way, I'm working on my seed-starting skills as well, especially with native plants. So far some success with Hibiscus lasiocarpus (another edible flower), Asclepias syriaca, and Manfreda virginica - but in all cases, it took sowing them in summer/fall and waiting till spring of the following year for them to germinate. I think the winter weather did the stratification.
 
Lisa Brunette
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Tim Kivi wrote:Fragrant rose petals are used in Persian cooking. They’re used in sweet and savoury dishes.

Rose petals also make rose water, which is essential to many middle-eastern and North Indian recipes.



Thanks, Tim, for the reminder. I also have a huge 'Knockout' rose bush, which does not provide hips, but I'd like to try to use the petals. Do you have any recipes to recommend?
 
Lisa Brunette
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Jellies!!!



If you think low growing flowers like dandelions are too fussy to harvest, check our this awesome picker! Link below has a brief video of it in action.



https://www.facebook.com/charlie.little.39/posts/3419404474742951?__cft__

I found the picker too late for my own use this year. Next spring, you can be sure I'll be busy during dandelion season! I'll be trying it out on viloets too!



Thanks, Joylynn - I haven't tried to make jam/jelly yet, but it's on my list. I'm not on Facebook, so I can't see your link, but let me know if that device works on violets. The violets and wild geraniums were such thorough ground covers this year that I only had 3 dandelions over the whole 1/4-acre.
 
Lisa Brunette
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Hi, everyone! I've posted about the many culinary and medicinal uses of flowers previously here at permies:

https://permies.com/t/142588/rose-petals

https://permies.com/t/140497/flower-petals

So I'm pro-flowers as permaculture plants with stacked functions. HOWEVER, I recently tried to harvest and eat several parts of the Hemerocallis fulva (daylily or ditch lily), with disastrous results. Details here: https://www.catintheflock.com/2020/07/why-you-should-ditch-the-daylilies.html


After weighing my own experience and the research out there on daylilies, I'm going to have to put them in the "only for compost" category. They're not a suitable food plant, they don't feed native pollinators, and I personally can't even use them as a cut flower because they're toxic to cats. So this is me putting out a cautionary note AGAINST daylilies as a permaculture plant. I know. Believe me, I'm as disappointed as you are.
ditch-lily-cluster.jpg
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