From the most delicate seaweed-wrapped sushi to the heartiest down South cooking, lovers of all types of cuisines are adding a punch of color and flavor to their dishes with edible flowers and microgreens. The tiny herbs, vegetables and flowers not only add an attractive splash of color to the plate but are also nutritious and tasty.
There are many varieties of edible flowers that can add unique flavors to your sweet or savory dish, from the delicate apple blossom to the citrus-tinged begonia. Think about soups and salads brought to life with the yellow brightness of marigolds or florets of chive flowers with their subtly oniony flavor. Crystallized pansy flowers can offset the bright white of a wedding or birthday cake, while the sweet petals of the Impatiens can add flair to a cocktail. In fact, there are more than 100 flowers commonly grown in gardens that are edible and tasty and more home cooks are discovering their uses.
Microgreens, from arugula, basil and beets to cilantro and beyond, are joining edible flowers on family dinner tables. Once solely the domain of fine dining chefs, this specialty produce is increasingly available for purchase for use at home. Correct storage and handling is vital to preserve the look and taste of the microgreens, which should be stored at an optimal temperature of 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). You can gauge the quality of your microgreens by checking their rating. On the rating scale 1 is poor and 5 excellent; 3 or less means it is an unmarketable product.
Less well known varieties of microgreens like Mizuna and Tatsoi can complement Asian specialties or add an exotic dimension to family favorites. Microgreens are essentially the baby seedlings of herbs and vegetables that are picked during the first two weeks after growth; the stem and leaves of the plant are consumed.