US: Edible flowers add flavour and flair to dishes

Though a niche product, edible flowers are more common than most consumers think. Broccoli, artichoke and cauliflower are all examples of flowers that we commonly eat, and saffron, a much sought-after spice, is the pollen of from a crocus flower. But even in their less common forms, edible flowers provide chefs a way to add flavour and colour to a variety of dishes.

“With their vibrant colours, textures, scents and flavours, edible flowers are gaining in popularity as a highly creative culinary ingredient,” said David Sasuga of Fresh Origins. As the largest producer of edible flowers in the U.S., Fresh Origins offers many varieties of edible flowers, though the most commonly grown ones are Nasturtium, Pansy, Viola and Marigold. Grown in greenhouses much like other flowers or crops are grown, Fresh Origins sells most of their edible flowers to the food service sector, though interest from consumers has been increasing.

At their simplest, edible flowers are simply flowers that are non-toxic to humans, which allows them to be used in dishes to add extra colours or fragrances to food. Lavender flowers, for example, can provide a striking colour and aroma to a dish, while herbs can add a concentrated flavour. But Sasuga noted that they've also developed innovative flowers that stretch the ability of chefs to use their flowers.

“In addition to the more common edible flower varieties, Fresh Origins has developed and introduced several new types,” explained Sasuga. “Our MicroFlowers™ are a line of the tiniest edible flowers. They're perfect for fine pastries and other delicate dessert presentations, and they can be scattered over just about any type of food and can also be used in cocktails.” Their FireStix™ flower is an amaranth blossom that can add height and colour to dishes, and their Sparklers™ can do the same, but with more of a resemblance to sea coral.

While they remain a niche product, edible flowers retain the ability to impart colour, aroma and flavour to many dishes.

“Edible flowers have been cultivated for hundreds of years,” said Sasuga. “So they've been around for a long time, and they will continue to be sought after by those interested in adding unique flavours and bright colours to their food.”

For more information:
David Sasuga
Fresh Origins
+1 760 822 6171

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