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Why Edible Flowers Are New Culinary Trend And Very Profitable?

edible flowers

Microgreens are a well known product today and their use is almost endless especially when we talk about high cuisine. We started with 10 varieties now we have around 50 varieties and even now chefs want something special for high performance. That is why we added edible flowers to our business.

Why?

Since time immemorial are wild plants and flowers well  known for healthy food and when you combine that with beautiful colors of blossom you have the best combination. Now in modern high cuisine restaurant chefs conjure a mix of amazing flavors but this isn’t enough if plates don’t look eye catching. Because of all this social media (facebook, instagram, reddit, etc.) people really love to publish where they have been and what they ate. And also pictures today are really good commercial marketing for restaurants and hotels, that is why plates have to look eye-catching. Desserts are one of the most common foods where edible flowers can be used and if you have some worries that you can’t combine really low temperature and fresh flowers don’t worry you can add dried one.

This is  another benefit from edible flowers. You plant several varieties (once, most in spring and early summer) and try to sell them fresh, but all surplus from them you just put in a dryer machine and store them in containers and you can use them months later.

edible flowers

Our wide range of edible flowers.

When to plant them?

In Slovenia we have mediterranean climate that means we have spring, summer and autumn, where we can grow & have fresh edible flowers. But during winter time, temperatures are too low for them to survive. Because we grow edible flowers only outside in the field and that is why you have to know a little bit which varieties are appropriate for which season.

Most of them we plant when spring starts and that we know the temperature will not drop below zero, like nasturtiums, borage, calendula, cornflowers,.. but some of these flowers are perennials and we dig them up in autumn and then keep them in our warehouse throughout the winter.  DAHLIAS are a really good example. When late autumn comes, just cut the plant above the ground and dig up all the roots (tubers) and store them in a proper place like a basement. Put them in a wooden crate where air can circulate, be sure the temperature never drops below zero  and it has to be dry space. In the spring when it is  warm enough put tubers in the ground and Dahlias will grow again.

edible flowers

Mixure – dried and fresh edible flowers.

Top 10 edible flowers:

  • NASTURTIUM
  • BORAGE
  • MARIGOLD
  • PANSY
  • DAHLIA
  • ROSE
  • LAVENDER
  • CORN FLOWER
  • CALENDULA
  • DIANTHUS

edible flowers

Different fresh edible flowers.

NASTURTIUM

are flowers which are easy to raise. Seeds are quite big and it is fine to leave some space between (around 30 cm) because they grow wide. They don’t need special care, only water like other plants and fields can be on direct sun exposure. Blossoms are a nice yellow red and orange color. Here is a little tip: we  pick them late afternoon when they are in full blossom  and store them in a cool place (refrigerator) and they stay in good condition easily for 4-5 days. We also sell a lot of leaves of Nasturtiums like microgreens (before they make any blossom), grown on the trays. One more hint. If you leave flowers to fall off, the plant itself will produce seeds, and when they are still green they are called ‘capers’. In fact, they are called ‘Poor Man’s Caper’. They are aromatic and it has peppery flavour. You can make Nasturtiums Pod Pickles.

edible flowers

Nasturtium tacos from Born under the sun.

edible flowers

Falafel garnished with nasturtium flowers from Leslie Cerier, The organic gourmet.

edible flowers

Mango cake with nasturtiums from Veganika.

edible flowers

Pickled nasturtiums pods from Decorator’s Notebook.

BORAGE 

It is an annual herb in the flowering plant family Boraginaceae. Its native area is Europe but you can find him also in other countries. It can grow around 60-70 cm high and has really beautiful most common blue  blossoms that sometimes can be pink or white which bees adore. We plant directly in medium PH soil above 1-2 cm deep and 30 cm apart. He can remain in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. The whole plant can be used as either a fresh vegetable taste like cucumber or dried herb. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is perfect for decorating desserts and cocktails.

edible flowers

Arugola borage salad from Taste with the eyes.

edible flowers

Main dish with garnished borage.

PANSY

They are in most cases annual plants depend on what climate they are growing. They like cold weather and can survive winter temperature. Late fall and all winter is perfect for this beautiful flower but we can pick them till early summer. You can start from the seed but we recommend buying already grown flowers. It’s easier and faster. The best with pansies is that you can grow so many colours, red, blue, orange, violet yellow, white, mixed double colours, like violet and yellow. Colors overflow hole blossom.

edible flowers

Tomato salad with edible pansies, za’atar and farro
from Flying Fourchete.

edible flowers

Chilled carrot avocado soup from Taste with the eyes.

DIANTHUS (Carnations)

Like with other flowers, dianthus also have several varieties. And most of them do have so perfect aroma, that you really see already in your head, how great it will go with your next dessert. Colours are from white to pink and violet, but you can also find red one. We do prefer smaller blossoms, because then you can have a wider range of use for them. It is best if you cut sweet tasting petals away from the bitter white base of each flower. Petals have mild clove taste and will add great colour to desserts and salads. And they really are a hit on cocktails. But please, let your imagination have no limits.

edible flowers

Edible flower Shortbread from She can’t eat what?

edible flowers

Pink and Purple Overnight Oats from Breakfastwithflowers.

edible flowers

Dianthus flowers on cakes from Veganika.

edible flowers

CALENDULA

Yellow-orange flowers that look like a sun. And to tell you a little secret about them. When the sun is hiding behind the clouds or when the sunset starts, they will close their lovely blossoms, but when the sun is up, they open their flowers and are basically sunbathed.

Once you have calendula on your field, you will have them forever. Each year they will sown themselves. We do plant more calendulas if we see that there aren’t enough in the field, because once you try to dry them, your customers will love it so much that you will plant more and more calendulas each year.

We pick whole blossoms, but our chefs then use only petals, but they pick them alone from the heart which is surrounded with petals. They have mild spicy peppery flavour. It is always best to use them raw, but you can also cook them.

Use it with frittatas, quiche, salsas, scrambled eggs, with seafood or top your favorite cake.

edible flowers

Sourdough loaf with pressed flowers from Twigg Studios.

edible flowers

Carrot rise with Calendula flowers from Amazing heart flowers.

edible flowers

Calendula Roll-ups from Cookstr.

CORN FLOWER

We love blue variety more than anything else. We plant blue versions everywhere and on all our fields. You are wondering why? Because we dry them and colour itself, blue, will stay the same. And each season, we ran out of it.

But let’s get back to fresh Corn Flowers. They came in different colours as well. The vibrant dark red is also very eye-catchy, and then there are white, rose, purple and white with blue inside colour. And to tell you, if you mix those petals from cornflowers together, you will get such a beautiful colourful mixture. Their taste is slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavour. Those confetti add to seasonal salads, spring rolls or incorporate them into desserts. They are a perfect addition to year-around culinary creations. The flower itself does leave seeds in the soil for next season, so you will see them popping up in the spring next year (european time).

edible flowers

Corn flower decoration from Kavarna Piškotek.

edible flowers

Flower decoration on cake from Veganika.

LAVENDER

Known and favorite for centuries. Although it is very commonly used in cosmetics, it has gained a lot of attention also in the culinary world. You may add it in savory dishes, but most people use it in sweet one. You can prepare cream with lavender infusion. How? Basically it’s the same method for all herbs, if you want their taste. You need to pour cream and when you turn off the gas, you put herbs/flowers in the cream. How long you leave them in the cream depends on how strong a taste you would like to have in the end. Our dear friend Katarina, who is making vegan sweets and desserts like stronger one, that is why she leaves it during the night. But here is a hint. You need to mix it by hand several times in between and cover the bowl with transparent foil very well (so that it touches the cream), with that you prevent any condensation. Otherwise, if the water drops come to the mixture, you will need to throw it away. In the morning, you have to strain it, put in the refrigerator and then you can use this cream as a regular cream. Just that it is not regular 🙂

Then you can use it in  all creams for desserts, panna cottas, rolls, fruit sauces, ice creams, ganaches for pralines, macarons, cookies, … This flower is perennial, and you leave it in the field and each year you will have blossoms of really beautiful purple coloured lavenders.

edible flowers

Lemon glazed lavender and lemon shortbread cookies from Twigg Studios.

edible flowers

Lavender cake decoration from Kavarna Piškotek.

ROSE

The queen of edible flowers. This is a must have in your kitchen, especially if you are a chef in a restaurant. The possibilities to use it, not just as a garnish are endless. And the taste, aroma and presence of the edible roses are so incredible. You can easily fall in love with them.

More fragrant varieties will have a bigger impact on matching with other food. So use your nose, to pick the one with more aroma.

Did you know that roses are related to almonds and cherries? That is why they are so common in use in the culinary world. Plus when you will use them, and place roses in the menu, people will be more challenged to try new dishes or at least this will be more interesting for them.

You will also find some rose food in traditional dishes, like Turkish delight and Middle East cuisine is also using it.

Try to prepare Rose vinegar, rose butter, rose water or syrup. Or just prepare candied rose petals for your next sweet dessert. Decorating food with roses is very known and yet very beautiful.

edible flowers

Cake tart decoration from Veganika.

edible flowers

Decoration from Kavarna Piškotek.

MARIGOLD (Tagete)

Bright yellow, orange and red flowers are very versatile. And their petals are very strong, so that you can use them also on cooked dishes and they will remain their look. You need to plant them each year, but what we most love about them is that they are flowering for a very long period, plus you will get a lot of flowers from just one plant. Their taste is a little bit citrus, but more even more citrus flavor is with their family plant, called tagetes tenuifolia. Flowers are smaller, so when you decorate your plate you use the whole flower in a bigger one, you usually use petals from the blossom. And with a regular one, you should remove the flower head and use just petals. Use them to brighten up your salad, toss your cake with them or just use it in a tea or on baked cookies.

edible flowers

Tortillas de Cempazuchitl with pressed marigold flowers from Spanglish Baby.

edible flowers

Cake topping.

DAHLIA

Those are also perennial plants and in most cases we have to dig up the tubers before winter if we want to use them for next season. Their time is from mid summer  through fall and they just love the sun area. They belong to the Asteraceae family. The peculiarity of this species are bigger flowers. We can use whole flowers or we pluck the petals and use those for decoration. They provide a wide colour spectrum from white to yellow, orange, to red, pink and purple. And their size and shapes are very versatile.

It is interesting that some tubes of the dahlias are also edible. But we grow them just for flowers. We pick full blossoms, and then some of our chefs use them whole or just pick petals from the flower. Since their size and shape is so different, we grow at least 8 varieties. Here I have to tell you, if you decide to dry them, try to mix different colours, because the look of mixture will be really gorgeous. Top up your cake or tarts with full flowers or add some petals to your cocktails or brighten up your season soups.

edible flowers

Beautiful decorations from Veganika.

edible flowers

Dahlias are really wonderful on cakes from Veganika.

Don’t be afraid to use and cultivate edible flowers. I am guaranteeing you, that your chefs will definitely be more happy if they will see, that your product list is wider and that you also have something else to offer, not just microgreens (if this is your prime product). It really is not so hard to grow them. And you don’t need a lot of space to have them. I do recommend using an outdoor field, but if you have enough space under tunnels, you can use them to grow them under also.  As you discovered during our post, a lot of flowers are perennials or they just sow themselves each year. So you just need to plant them once and you will have them for years. This is so profitable. And the price for the flowers can easily be higher than microgreens (I am comparing our small container of microgreens vs camchell with cutted flowers). And chefs/customers will order more frequently and will be more attached to you, because of your wider product list.

We often say, our main products are microgreens, and if you are ordering microgreens from us, you can also get edible flowers (so you will sell more microgreens and edible flowers at the end). And chefs do love fewer suppliers with more products.

And all excess flowers that you will grow, you can easily dry and you will have an offer of them year around, and also during winter time. Isn’t that a winning combination?

edible flowers

Dried edible flowers.

If you have any recipe with edible flowers that you would like to share with our readers, you can send it to our email hello@reactgreens.com or join our Free Facebook group Microgreens by ReactGreen Tribe and share it there. I do believe we have to share those beauties with others.

We have prepared also introduction video on edible flowers, that we grow and dry. Please click and watch video HERE and our bigger field HERE.

Want to learn more?

If you have any questions about the information cited in this post or about microgreens in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to us via email hello@reactgreens.com.

Leaving a comment or writing to the provided e-mail does not add your e-mail address to any mailing or marketing list.

Disclaimer: Some of the products may contain an affiliate link and we may make a commission if you click on it at no additional costs to you.

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