Thyme flowers are edible and delicious. I often add them to salads and stir fries for the flavour and the visual interest.
When herbs flower, they not only look beautiful, add colour to the garden, attract bees and other beneficial insects – many are edible too.
I photographed this flowering thyme at the new Raymond Island Community Garden run by a small group of volunteers at the community hall. I visited there for the first time yesterday – what a great little garden.
It’s best it pick flowers in the cool of the day. Early morning is perfect, just after any dew has evaporated. Once the flowers have finished on the herb plants, freshen them up by giving them a trim.
I made a short film about some of the edible flowers in my permaculture garden back in August. Here is the link to this film on my Youtube Channel, Our Permaculture Life:
Edible Flowers by Morag Gamble
As well as thyme flowers, I often eat the flowers of:
- rocket (arugula)
- coriander (cilantro)
- garlic chives
- lemon balm
I also eat the flowers of other plants in my garden such as:
- pineapple sage
|Edible pansy flowers.
A few notes on safely eating flowers:
- eat flowers you know are edible (if you are not 100% sure what plant it is while you’re out foraging, leave it)
- eat flowers you have grown yourself, or know how they’ve been grown (florist flowers are usually treated with chemicals)
- Choose flowers that are at their peak.
- avoid roadside flowers because of vehicle pollution
- avoid park flowers which may have been sprayed
- I would eat the entirety of small flowers such as thyme, rosemary and oregano, but it is recommended to eat only the petals (not the stamens, pistils or sepals) of larger flowers because they interfere with the flavour and the pollen can affect people with allergies. You wouldn’t bother with thyme flowers – way too tiny and fiddly.
- If you suffer from allergies, asthma or hayfever – probably best to avoid or go easy.
- I usually eat them fresh from the garden, but if you want to harvest and keep them, one idea I read was to place them on moist paper towel and refrigerate in an airtight container. They can last up to 10 days.