Growers have warned of an edible flower shortage due to “huge unprecedented demand”.
Due to popularity and dull weather, some edible flower lines are short at Westland Nurseries this week, which grows vegetables and herbs for suppliers to supermarkets and the hospitality industry.
“They’re going mainstream. Even the supermarkets have started including them in prepared salads and Sainsbury's has even listed a stand alone pack in the herb section,” explained James Seymour, Westland Nurseries Product development manager, exclusively to Inapub.
“Not long ago it was difficult to persuade people to eat edible flowers, but now thanks to Instagram and some big name restaurants using them, they’ve become a hit.”
The petals and full flower heads of certain flowers can be used in salads, desserts and even cocktails.
James said: “There are no strict rules when it comes to using them. It’s down to the chef or individual to play around with ingredients and textures. Some are admittedly just to add colour – you don’t even need to use many on a plate.”
He said that they were currently harvesting 100,000 viola flowers a week, and were always trying to predict volumes but had been pleasantly surprised by the surge in popularity.
James also said that people were being inspired by the growingly popular hobby of foraging, thus becoming more familiar with edible flowers.
Chefs are advised to seek help before putting flowers on the menu, as some flowers or bulbs can be toxic.
What’s the next big trend?
“We try to stay ahead and predict what might be popular next. We’re thinking it might be linked with heritage variety crops or edible rose petals.
“Rose petals are a classic middle eastern flavouring but were also used in traditional British food about 400 years ago. The petals can be added to sparkling wine or as a twist in a gin cocktail.”
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