Edible Zinnias

Bright, vibrant zinnias grow in lots of gardens. You can locate them in bouquets and dried flower arrangements. They also seem in tacos, tea and cheeses, as well as in fruit salads and birthday cakes. The edible landscaping movement is turning more people on to a simple fact that many state folks have known for a long time: several flowers make for healthy eating. Alphabetically, zinnias are last on the list, but that’s no reflection on their taste or adaptability for recipes.

About Zinnias

Zinnias (Zinnia spp.) Are annual flowers that grow in most of U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones. They’re native North American plants. Zinnias usually grow to be 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet broad, although some dwarf varieties are smaller. Their showy blossoms come many different colours, such as orange, red, yellow and bright pink. The leaves are 2 to 4 inches long.

Growing Zinnias

Zinnias are easy to grow from seeds. They require eight to 12 weeks to blossom after planting. Zinnias should be planted after the danger of frost is past. They grow in most types of soil, but it must be well-drained. Prepare the soil by adding compost. Add 1 or 2 inches of compost to the top of the flower bed, and dig 6 to 8 inches of soil and mix the compost and soil. Cover the seeds with 1/4 inch of this amended soil. Water well. Zinnias should be planted 6 to 18 inches apart, depending on how big the plant will probably be when fully grown. They need to be planted in full sunlight, which means they need over six hours of sunlight each day.

Cooking With Zinnias

Katie Shanks, who along with her family owns and operates Arcadia Farms, situated near Portage, Michigan, provides tips for cooking with zinnias. Shanks recommends rinsing the zinnias in cool water, shaking them checking and dry them thoroughly for bugs, which may hide under the big petals. Although the entire zinnia is creamy, Shanks recommends removing the seeds and just cooking using the petals. The flavor of zinnias is somewhat bitter, based on Shanks, who says, “Cooking with zinnias is much more about the enjoyment than the taste.” Nevertheless, she developed recipes to get 10 en plates that include zinnias within an ingredient. Miche Bacher, author of “Cooking With Flowers,” recommends tasting each type of flower before using that kind in a recipe.

Safety First

According to the University of Wisconsin, zinnias are nontoxic. You still will need to take precautions before cooking with them. Zinnias employed for cooking should not be treated with any chemicals, including pesticides or herbicides. If you use compost in the soil around them, it must be free of pathogens, which is present in manure. To compost manure so that it’s safe to use with edible plants, experts recommend that the compost pile heat to 130 to 150 degrees and keep that temperature for three days. Stir the compost, and permit it reheat three times; then, let it sit for about two months before applying it.

See related