Have you heard about edible flowers?
I have to tell you the truth but I did not know much about this subject. Therefore I was happy to come across an article which talked about edible flowers.
In the south of Spain, in the province of Malaga is a region called Axarquia which includes 31 municipalities. The name might be traced back to Arabic or Greek origins. It has beautiful nature, hills, and mountains and has remained unspoiled by urban growth or the influx of too many foreign interests.
The region has a subtropical climate, so besides avocados, you might also find mango and kiwis being grown here. Should you come to visit, try the sweet wine made from sun-dried grapes. In Competa, you can visit a Museo de Vino where you can taste the local wine.
2 Beautiful Parks
This region is very well known for many things. In 1487 it was conquered by Castilian troops, after the battle of Axarquia when the castles of Zalia, Alcausin, Bentomiz, and Arenas fell. Because the region had been controlled by Muslim rulers since 700 AD, most of the villages are of Muslim origin and the irrigation channels that can be seen throughout the area, date back to those times.
There are two famous parks located in this region; Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejada, Almijara, and Alhama, and the Paraje natural de Los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo.
A special place in the south of Spain
The Axarquia is well known for its beautiful landscape, agriculture produce, which is abundant thanks to its sub-tropical climate, the yearly Fiestas, handicraft, and good food. You will find ceramics which serve as pretty souvenirs and restaurants that serve good local fare. Now, something special has been added to this list, edible flowers.
Edible flowers have been used in Asian, European, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Candied flowers like little violets are used to decorate cakes. I remember when I was a small girl I liked to eat them. They can be mixed into salads and added to beverages like wines and teas. You will also find flowers in vinegar, marinades, and dressings. Quite a few of them seem to hold benefits for our health so it is well worth looking into this.
Some flowers have a high nutritional value like the dandelion. They contain high doses of polyphenols and antioxidants, plus they have anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties. When eating flowers one should always have freshly cut ones, and not eat unopened buds or wilted flowers.
In past times, flowers were used in the kitchen in Ancient Greece, Rome, and also Egypt. The first recorded mention of edible flower use was in 140 BC. In Japan and China, the petals of the Chrysanthemum are added to soups and teas. Italian and Hispanic cultures stuff the blossoms of squash then cook the stuffed flower. Here comes a yummy recipe.
Do you want to grow your own edible flowers?
If you should get interested in using edible flowers yourself, perhaps the best way would be to grow it in your own garden. Needless to say, you need a green garden where all kinds of herbicides and pesticides are forbidden. The pretty flowers you might see along the road are not good because they have suffered pollution made by the passing cars. The flowers you buy in a shop are no good either due to the likely hood that they might have been sprayed with pesticides.
Well, you can see there are multiple uses of edible flowers and 2 young Germans, living in the south of Spain, saw the potential of marketing edible flowers. Peter Knacke is the manager and Til Runge is the head of the production.
Together they have a company by the name Sabor y Salud which means Taste and Health. In 2017 they moved to new premises on the boundary between Velez and Benamocarra.
The new premises of Sabor y Salud
The area they use to cultivate edible flower, herbs, and salad leaves, is in greenhouses with a total area of 12.000 square meters. Recently the company has obtained its certification as an ecological producer.
With a view to the European market, being certified as an ecological producer (certified organic) is important as people, in general, have become more conscious about the value of organic foods. Some 200 different varieties of flowers are grown here and that makes about 1 million flowers a year.
Spain is, up till now, their main market but about 10% of the harvest is exported to France. Talks are being held with a wholesaler in Holland, so there is a possibility to expand the market. There is a potential of a 40% increase in production and sales in the near future.
Spain’s world-famous chefs
Some of Spain’s greatest chefs are already a client of Sabor y Salud. The list includes the Roca brothers, and Juan Mari Arzak, who, in his restaurant, has a wine cellar with 100.000 bottles. Others include Pedro Subijana, Dani Carcia, Jose Carlos Garcia, Kisko Garcia, Carme Ruscallada, and Ferran Adria.
Besides selling their products Sabor y Salud also provides information on how to use edible flowers in your kitchen. They do not only grow the product but also highlight the different colors, flavors, and even health aspects. Edible flowers should not only have a decorative function, but it should also be an integral part of the dish you are making. If you are interested, you can participate in courses and workshops to find out how to best use edible flowers.
Something which has been known and used for nearly 2000 years is having a comeback in our modern life. Nature, as usual, delights us with the use of her gifts. Do you plan to introduce edible flowers into your diet? Here is a list of 42 edible flowers which you can check. I would love to hear if you do, so do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Source: Newspaper Sur, article by Augustin Pelaez in March 2010. Wikipedia.
Photo Source: Pixabay
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