One way to mark an upswing in the economy is to see how people are spending money. In hard times, people tend to shy away from going out to eat, especially to upscale restaurants. However, there’s good news for fine dining–the results of a recent study showed an uptick in Americans visiting upscale restaurants. Visits are up 3%. Since fine dining makes up about 10% of overall restaurant sales, this is good news for the economy.
With the rise of fine dining appeal coming back, chefs and restaurants are beginning to find ways to draw even more customers in, feeling that they have both the means to do so and the customer base. New and interesting methods of making dishes palatable, look appealing and unusual are beginning to crop up in restaurants across the country. One such trend involves using microgreens and edible flowers in dishes and desserts. Microgreens can add a fresh flavor or add texture to a dish. When it comes to edible flowers (especially crystallized flowers or candied flowers), these tend to be most often used to garnish dishes, especially desserts. Microgreen growing farmers have found their business rapidly increasing, since with over 100 standard garden flowers that both tasty and pleasing to the eye, chefs have a wide range of options to choose from!
What Microgreens Actually Are If someone were to tell you that microgreens are the same as sprouts, they’d be wrong. Instead, microgreens can be defined as seedlings that were harvested early before reaching their full, mature size. Sprouts are simply the shoots of a plant. Although the term “microgreens” is pretty recent (from the last 20-30 years), the plants themselves have been in use long before that. Settlers used to collect plants like cress (a microgreen) for salads even before it became a desirable item.
What’s the Appeal of MIcrogreen Growing? Microgreen growing can be a lucrative business, considering their increased popularity, but it’s a tricky one. It’s not advised just anyone try it. It’s a reasonably difficult process and not recommended unless you have a whole industry centered around microgreen growing. For example, one such restriction that you have to follow is how microgreens are rated. They’re rated on a scale from 1-5. A score of 1 is poor and 5 is excellent. A visual score of 3 or better means that the microgreens will be marketable, while anything under a 3 is unmarketable. Another restriction is that microgreens need to be stored at an exact temperature to keep them looking their best and maintaining their flavor–39.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Dishes Use MIcrogreens? Microgreens can commonly be found in salads–arugula, Swiss chard, and mustard greens add a dash of color and provide a zesty flavor that works well with sweeter dressings or sweet salads, like beets. Microgreens are also used as a pretty background for a meat entree or add a little zip on the side. Microgreens often appeal to customers because of their fresh flavor and unique qualities.
If you visit a fine dining restaurant in the near future, you should keep an eye out for microgreens or edible flowers in your food. If you want to try using microgreens in your own home cooking, many of them can be found in your local health food store or local supermarket.
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