Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Author: Marina Danilova.
The edible flowers of wild plants have been used by centuries in cooking and medicine. Modern dishes, decorated with flowers, look like art, magic and glamorous. Today, edible flowers are added into drinks, desserts, salads and even main dishes. Using flowers in cooking gives not only an original appearance to dishes, but also a delicate, unique aroma and taste of incomparable natural sweetness.
According to the Yandex Wordstat service, almost 3,500 users were interested in edible flowers in Russia this month. There are not many companies involved in the production of edible flowers on the Russian market yet. Obviously this market in Russia is just emerging. Manufacturers offer viola (pansies), violets, marigolds, nasturtium flowers, begonias, garden carnations. Certain types of roses, jasmine, orchid and lavender are sometimes positioned as edible flowers too.
Olga Belova, representative of the production company GreenCoin (Moscow), told the “Warm yellow socks” about the specificity of the production and certification of edible flowers.
"Edible flowers are bought mainly for dishes, drinks and desserts decorating. They are in demand only at the most top restaurants and sweet-shops. Others simply cannot afford them, these are rather expensive products. First of all, buyers are interested in the freshness of the product, its environmental friendliness, edibility and the absence of insects. This is the most difficult thing in production: to protect flowers from insects and pests, without treating them with chemicals. Despite the fact that flowers are edible, they are rarely eaten, perceiving more as a culinary decoration. The most bright taste, in my opinion, have begonia, oxalis, nasturtium. The flowers have a certain seasonality. Most of them bloom only 1-2 times a year. If we talk about storage, the flowers take up a lot of space. They are certified like any other food product, there are no differences here. We always say that flowers that are growing on the street collect dust and insects, they cannot be used for food. "
Photo from Instagram @greenc.ru.
What are the reasons of interest in edible flowers?
We think that edible flowers trend could be explained by the following factors.
1. The accompanying healthy lifestyle trend
Healthy nutrition, naturalness and freshness of products. The food industry is now facing exactly such requests from consumers. Edible flowers answer these requests.
2. Flowers evoke emotions
And this is exactly what you need for successful sales. Delicate petals and bright colors are very beautiful, they excite the imagination and give a real aesthetic pleasure.
3. Nice content for Instagram
Flowers are incredibly photogenic. Almost any blogger can get a good shot with such "props". Dishes with edible flowers look original enough to make you want to share them on Instagram.
Photo from Instagram @feyacafe - Feya cafe in London.
Chef Andrey Kolodyazhny shared his experience of working with edible flowers.
"Edible flowers are, first of all, beautiful! Love for flowers came from France. They have been used flowers in cooking for a long time. For example, candied violets are used be a decoration for confectionery. I chose a little different path. I began to use flowers for taste and aroma. Fortunately, many wild flowers are not only beautiful, but also useful: St. John's wort, meadowsweet, thyme, daylily, even thistle and, of course, lavender. Flowers can also be heat treated. For example, jam could be made from rose flowers and dandelions, I created ice cream from tulips. If you decide to use flowers in the menu, remember that they cannot be picked along the roads or from the city flower beds, you cannot buy they from common flower-growers, you need to contact specialized producers."
Chef Andrey Kolodyazhny. Spinach, blue cheese, corn flour, parsley root. Photo from Instagram @chef_gastrobotanik.
Chef Andrey Kolodyazhny. Lavender honey, rhubarb, violet, cambucha, grapes. Photo from Instagram @chef_gastrobotanik.
What should you pay attention to when adding edible flowers to your assortment?
Short product shelf life.
Rather high price.
Some flowers can be allergens.
Seasonality of flowers.
Documentary confirmation from the supplier of the possibility of using his flowers specifically for food.
Airiness and volume, flowers take up a lot of space during storage.
According to the analytical report "Market for edible flowers 2020", prepared by Prudour Pvt. Ltd. based on the activities of leading foreign players (Agriver Ltd., Cottage Botanicals, Fresh Origins LLC and others), edible flowers will be in increasing demand among consumers all over the world, and this market will grow significantly by 2029.
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