Tulip petals aren’t just edible: they’re delicious and work beautifully in a flavoursome salad as part of the 52-week salad challenge.
In previous years, when my tulips finally stopped flowering, I’d feel sad. It’s one of the first passings of the year, the end of the tulip season, when the garden isn’t just full of wonderful new beginnings any more.
But this year, thanks to the 52-week salad challenge, I discovered that tulip petals are in fact edible. Other members of the challenge claimed they’d found the petals to have a delightful pea-like taste, so when my parrot tulips on the balcony started to drop some of their petals, I harvested them, along with the first pea shoots grown on the balcony, for a salad.
Some edible flowers are just edible. They don’t really taste of anything and their only role in a salad is to make it look a bit brighter and to impress guests.
But tulip petals are delicious in their own right. Surprisingly, they do taste remarkably pea-like, and have a great crunchy texture.
The salad that I gathered this week from my balcony was wonderfully abundant. I have a big fat serving of peashoots, mustard leaves, perpetual spinach, blood-veined sorrel, apple mint, lemon balm, oak-leaved lettuce and beetroot.
This made a fantastically flavoursome salad, and a colourful one at that. I deliberately picked the blood-veined sorrel and the beetroot as red highlights to the salad to echo the carmine tulips. You could have a deep and dramatic salad with ‘Queen of the Night’ tulips and dark-leaved lettuce, red cabbage or chicory and tatsoi leaves, or an eighties night-themed salad with pink microleaves (try red orache and beets) and hot pink tulip petals.
When I pick the petals from the tulip plant, I cut back the flowering stem and start a feeding regime, as detailed here to ensure the bulb gets as much energy as possible to flower again next year. Some people can have allergic reactions to tulip petals. If you get a rash when handling the petals or feel numb, don’t eat them.
These are the first peashoots that I’ve harvested from the balcony. I sowed them thickly in a vertical pocket planter that I’ve tied to one end of the balcony, and have harvested them using the re-grow method that I detailed here.
This week I sowed
Basil, garlic chives and peas.
Find our more about the 52-week salad challenge here. Don’t forget to follow others taking part in the salad challenge on twitter using the hashtag #saladchat. And if you don’t have your own blog but want to write a post about your own experience of the challenge, then use our Your Blogs section.