While people can choose not to eat meat and remain healthy, this is not the case with edible plants. We all need to incorporate plants into our diet to stay alive — and as any chef can attest, it’s difficult not to cook with plants on some level. Even when cooking meat, you will invariably have to add herbs and plants to the dish, whether as flavoring or as a decorative element. But upscale chefs are becoming bored with the typical fruits and vegetables we tend to cook with. Specialty produce has taken over the culinary industry, with true leaf microgreens and edible flowers representing a new frontier for the cooking world. Yet some still remain unaware of the benefits of cooking with organic micro greens — or worse yet, they don’t see them as true ingredients but rather as garnishes. Organic micro greens are far from simple garnishes – rather, they often come with a variety of different exciting flavors that can really liven up a dish. With that being said, their beautiful appearance just makes them more of an asset to a dish, as we will explore below. All of this is also true for edible flowers — while these were once purely decorative, they’re now being used as integral parts of dishes. Without further ado, let’s get educated on organic micro greens and edible flowers.
1. Yes, They Are Beautiful
The delicate and colorful appearances of organic micro greens and edible flowers are not their only qualities, but they cannot be ignored. These are among the few ingredients that can both be seen in their complete forms and consumed — and the diner does benefit from this. The way we look at food does affect how we taste it. Food that is both flavorful and visually appealing presents a whole experience, rather than the rather limited experience we often get from foods that may taste good, but look less than appetizing. Research has shown that people tend to like a certain number of colors and food components on their plates — with children preferring six colors and seven food components, and adults like three colors and three food components. As for edible flowers — these have long been used to make pastries and cakes in particular more appealing. Brides love the natural and lovely appearances of wedding cakes with edible flowers. While flowers with less flavor an be crystallized with sugar to add a sweet impact, many chefs are now experimenting with sweet flowers that not only look good but natural complement the cake’s flavors.
2. They’re Not Easy To Keep Or Cultivate
Some chefs like to cultivate their own fruits and vegetables — unfortunately, this is not possible with microgreens. Microgreens are finicky plants, easily damaged and hard to grow. Most chefs who attempt to cultivate them on their own end up spending a lot of money and reaping few rewards. In order to have the amount of microgreens that you need at a high quality, it’s much better to invest in microgreens from a trusted, experienced provider. There is a scale from which you can judge the quality of microgreens before buying them, ranging from one (poor) to five (excellent). Only microgreens with a rating of three or above will be sold by a reputable provider, as this is the marketability threshold for microgreens. Microgreens with a rating below three should not be sold. Once you have your microgreens, you should store them at temperatures of four degrees Celsius or 39.2 degres Fahrenheit.
3. The Variety Is Virtually Endless
Many microgreens are now grown with a spicy flavor in mind. These include spicy arugula, cabbage, cilantro, and cabbage. However, microgreens can also be grown in milder varieties, like kale, rainbow chard, and microgreens intended for baby salads. With over 100 different types of garden flowers being both edible and palatable, you have your pick there too. Rose petals have long been used for cooking, but pansies, chrysanthemums, and lavender are also rising in popularity.
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