You’ve seen dishes created at top restaurants around the world, so you know that eye appeal ranks right up there with flavor in terms of what defines a fine dining experience.
Would you be surprised to learn that you may have flowers in your garden that are are perfectly good as food items? It’s true. There are around a hundred common types of edible flower petals that are both delicious and nutritious.
What are some edible flowers? Names you’ll probably recognize include rose, snapdragon, geranium, hollyhock and sunflower. And they’re becoming very popular with chefs as an innovative ingredient that adds its own taste, aroma and of course color to a plate. You can find edible blossoms in salads, main dishes and even desserts.
One innovative approach has been to match the hundred-year-old technique of sugar crystallization to edible flower petals to create an eye-catching display. The flowers are dried first for preservation and then glazed with the sugar. That gives them a shelf life of around six months, with no refrigeration necessary.
How important is appearance when it comes to food? Studies show that adults like to see three food colors and three components, while children prefer six colors and seven components.
Beside edible flower petals, you’ve probably already encountered another popular food innovation. Microgreens are very young versions of familiar salad vegetables that are picked shortly after the appearance of the very first leaves. They have a particularly delicate texture and distinctive flavor that fine restaurants employ to enhance the freshness, beauty and taste of their culinary creations. They’ve been around for 20 or 30 years and available in health food stores for a while, but now you can find them in some supermarkets as well. Look for microgreens such as arugula, Swiss chard, mustard, and beetroot.
There’s quite a bit of information available online regarding both edible flowers and microgreens. And, of course, wherever you buy them you should find some expert advice as well. Why not try incorporating some of these innovative and fun options into your own dinner presentations?