Since the 1980s, leading chefs have been using microgreens and edible flowers as tasty food accents. The various micro green varieties are not just tiny leaves but miniature plants, such as broccoli, spinach, endives, and brussels sprouts. They are just about two inches in size and packed with flavor. Edible flowers and microgreens are best sourced from professional growers in order to ensure their safety, quality and flavor.
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are entire plants, with a stem and leaves. Peoples often confuse them with sprouts or leaves, but they not tiny leaves. Used as food accents in high-end restaurants, they offer chefs new ways of decorating and flavoring haute cuisine. The tiny vegetables have an intense flavor, as well as an attractive appearance.
While microgreens are new, using plants as food decorations is not. Edible flowers and crystallized rose petals have been used to flavor and accent food for thousands of years. In fact there are about a hundred different kind of common garden flowers can be eaten safely. Crystallized flowers are especially suitable for decorating cakes, sweets and desserts. From savory to sweet, creative chefs can find a use for microgreens and edible flowers in almost any dish.
But you can’t just go out in the garden or to the florist for your food accents. Edible flowers and plants must be pesticide-free and it is best to get them from a specialist grower. Likewise microgreens are best bought from specialist growers to ensure their quality and taste.
How are microgreens used?
Micro green varieties are very much in demand in the upscale segment of the restaurant industry in the U.S., which makes up about 10% of the total market. They are used as food accents and to add a punch of flavor to salads, sandwiches, entrees and soups.
Food presentation is almost as important as the taste. There’s even a group on Flickr, the photo sharing site, called ?I Ate This.? It’s actually one of the largest and most active groups on Flickr, with more than 19,000 members who have posted more than 300,000 photos.
Researchers have found that children like colorful food plates with six colors and seven different components. Adults prefer three colors and three components, making microgreens a handy and versatile decorating item.
Professionally grown microgreens and plants
Like edible flowers, it’s best to get professionally grown microgreens. These are classified according to quality on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 denotes poor quality and 5 is excellent. The determination is made visually and the marketability threshold is considered to be 3. A product with a rating lower than 3 is unmarketable.
Professional growers store and transport microgreens at temperatures 4 degrees Celsius or 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature for preserving flavor and appearance.
With an increasing number of micro green varieties available for chefs to add to their creative presentations. With their striking appearance and intense flavor, micro greens add variety and color to any dish.