If it's not too wet in your area, I highly recommend growing cacti. There are many kinds that could easily survive the cold in your winters. Cacti are great for containers (especially since containers dry out fast, and you kind of want them dry with cacti). Many cacti have edible fruit and pads.
I don't think they ship overseas, but you might look at Cold Hardy Cactus for some ideas. I recommend looking at those that can handle water the best, if you're not in an arid area (I assume it's not arid there). Opuntia humifusa types should work well. You might also try Escobaria missouriensis, as it's known to grow by rivers in Missouri (I imagine it's not particularly dry there).
Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) are perennial, cold hardy and edible (most people don't eat them, though).
You could try potato onions, bunching onions, and such as that. Potato onions are perennial onions that multiply every year.
You could probably find some citrus trees for your zone. At least some of them can do well in containers. Zone 8 isn't that cold (but make sure it really is zone 8; people like to say my zone in southwestern Idaho is anywhere between 5 and 7, but it's really zone 4, and if you plant for zone 7 here, your plants will most likely die the first winter). How high maintenance they are probably depends on your local pests (but pests aside, I don't imagine they should be that difficult for you).
Strawberries should do reasonably, although maintenance is probably considerably higher than cacti.
You might try a mulberry tree fit for a container. Some mulberries can be kept in containers. I'm not sure how hard it is to care for them, but they sound like they can be hardy trees. The fruit is edible, but the young leaves have herbal properties, too. The mature leaves can have some unpleasant side-effects, however.
Oregano is a perennial herb. We have some in a pot that survived our -21° winter this year. It can handle drought fairly well.
Russian tarragon seems to work pretty well.
Rhubarb is supposed to be easy to grow in containers (if they're deep enough). Remember, the leaves are toxic, though.
You might also consider annual plants that reseed easily, such as chamomile or calendula (it's an ornamental flower, but useful for iodine content, I've heard).
Some people like to grow dandelions in containers. They're edible, and perennial. They can look pretty nice when they're huge (people normally pull them up, and try to prevent them from prospering; so, you usually don't see them like that).