Flowers charm with their vibrant colours and beautiful shapes. However, apart from their aesthetic qualities, flowers have a host o...
Flowers charm with their vibrant colours and beautiful shapes. However, apart from their aesthetic qualities, flowers have a host of uses which often go unnoticed. One of these is their potential to delight the palate. The use of flowers as a garnish or decorative element for baking and cooking has been around for a long time and is prevalent in different cultures around the globe. It is currently a hot trend that is continuously evolving and giving chefs the chance to innovate.
Flowers come in different varieties and possess very different qualities that vary from species to species. Qualities such as flavour colour and texture. These qualities ultimately define the best use of each flower. The use of flowers in culinary applications has been seen in various renowned cuisines from around the world, including floral-infused beverages, teas and desserts.
The use of flowers as garnishes and ingredients in restaurant and home cuisine has become tremendously popular in Ghana. A recognizable sign of this is the availability of these edible flowers among the fresh herbs in many grocery stores. There are over 250 known species of edible flowers around the world, all providing a unique opportunity to create and add new flavors to even the most traditional recipes.
Flowers not only add artistic flair to dishes, they also add valuable nutrients and healing properties such as:
· Vitamins A, B, C and E, especially nasturtiums and rosesA variety of minerals that are fundamental for the optimal functioning of our organs, and at the same time many of these flowers also contain small quantities of amino acids, proteins and starches
· The flower’s mucilage – a type of soluble fiber found in some plants – helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and cleanse the body from the inside out
· Violets and lavender are recommended for combating colds and throat infections due to their antibacterial properties. These two species are also known for their capacity to reduce headaches and act as a natural relaxant.
Cooking with flowers can be very simple. When cultivating your own flowers at home, the flowers should not be harvested until right before they are about to be served; this way they are completely fresh. If bought, they should be stored in the refrigerator inside a hermetic container and on top of wet paper. It is necessary to keep in mind that for some floral species used in the kitchen, one should take the time to remove the flower’s stamen and base while washing them since at times these parts of the flower can add a sour flavor.
Flowers can be used in the kitchen in many ways. They may be added to a fresh garden salad, or infused in water and then used as base for sauces and pastries. Also, the aroma of many flowers can be incorporated into any pastry by using sugar that has been previously infused with the aroma of particular flowers. According to food and garden experts picking the right flower for cooking and baking takes more than just letting your nose lead the way. It is important when choosing, to be familiar with the flowers to ascertain their edibility.