Flowers on the plate

Flowers on the plate

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Flowers on the plate

Man has always copied nature, taking inspiration for the decorations, or even drawing directly on elements of nature itself, then using them in various ways, as happens for cut flowers, which come into decorations from the simplest, such as the municipalities bunches of violets, up to very elaborate bouquets that we can admire in the demonstrations. Even the interior decoration often draws on nature, varying over time the stylistic and taste choices, also following the fashions of the moment. The ceramics, the wallpaper, the stained glass, often the flowers and the leaves enter massively in our houses, even if only as representations of nature. A field in which flowers have always been used, at least as examples from which to draw inspiration, is ceramics: many prestigious and not prestigious brands borrow colors and scenarios from nature, to create small objects of art, also suitable to daily use.

The most classic decorations, roses

Certainly among the most loved flowers of the last centuries, roses are the masters; since modern and ancient roses have swept across all the gardens of Europe, the taste for this flower and the pleasure of having its specimens cut at home remains, while following the fashions of the moment in terms of colors. Famous dishes of Royal Albert, which painting on the finest Victorian style porcelain, for decades has given our tables a nostalgic and delicate touch. Very famous teacups with flowers that bloom in different months of the year; even more famous are the precious dish services, decorated with double-layered roses, usually in the shades of pink, the most appreciated. Probably David Austin was inspired by these dishes in hybridizing his newer varieties, with almost opulent flowers, almost too full of petals, as was the case in ancient roses.
But roses are used as decoration by most producers of porcelain and pottery in general, probably because they are the most widespread and common flower; as a cut flower, they are the most widespread flower, also due to the many meanings attributed to this flower in the language of flowers: the rose is the symbol of passions and strong emotions; roses are given to express love, purity, desire, envy, jealousy. Despite their delicate appearance, their meaning is passionate and intense.

The most stylized decorations

Even in the dishes with more sober and stylized decorations, designers often seek inspiration in the forms of nature: bamboo, ferns, pine cones, canes; all these natural elements, their simplicity and purity, give a very chic touch to the table. Even simply used in monochrome designs, the leaves and stems of the plants can appear elegant and refined. Probably what most inspires those who use these decorative elements is the simple and pure symmetry of some natural elements, such as the leaves of ferns, or the stems of bamboo canes. It is not necessary to produce crockery that looks like a spring garden to hit the imagination, it is often the sobriety that is more elegant and pleasing to the eye. Surely the tones are not Victorian or romantic, it is a less showy, more delicate elegance.

Flowers in the dish

In addition to the dishes, the flowers can also end up on the plate; because, although the use of fruits, leaves and berries is much more widespread, flowers can also be used in the kitchen, since most of them are completely edible. Clear that it is good to know first what you eat, since in nature not everything is healthy, and some flowers can hide dangerous poisons. But, once we have ascertained that we have chosen an edible flower, let's try it in salads, soups, or even in slightly more original dishes. Let us always remember that when we harvest an edible flower it is not said that it was cultivated to be eaten, and therefore let us first ascertain it. For example, the holes that we can find from the florist, although they belong to edible plants, generally cannot be eaten; this is because, in order to produce, market and preserve them, they often contain harmful substances, or have been treated with insecticides and pesticides. Even if we pick a flower in our garden, we can safely eat it only if we are certain that treatments with chemical products have been carried out several days before, at least fifteen. Clearly, the short duration of the flowers makes it difficult to find them available for consumption. So, either we produce them ourselves, avoiding insecticides and other products during flowering; or we go back to those who produce flowers expressly for human consumption, usually through organic or biodynamic cultivation methods.

Traditional flowers

Often we do not all know that we have flowers on our plate; a typical example is the capers, or the buds placed under salt of the plants of capparis sativa: before they bloom, the tiny buds are collected and placed in large containers with coarse salt; the brine that develops slightly dehydrates the flowers and gives them an acidic, slightly spicy, and very aromatic taste, which we all know well, given that these flowers are widely used in Italian cuisine. Similarly, in some areas nasturtium buds are used, which have a flavor very similar to that of capers. Other flowers that we traditionally find in the dish are those of saffron: in reality these are the stamens of the crocus sativa flowers, and their colored and aromatic pollen. In most Italian regions, the male flowers of pumpkins and courgettes are also eaten: they are large yellow flowers, which after pollinating the female flowers will wither; each plant produces dozens, and therefore, periodically, it is very simple to collect and prepare them in the kitchen, typically passed in flour and fried, or even stuffed with mozzarella or anchovies. Even the artichokes are flowers, or rather inflorescences not yet fully developed; they are still picked in bud and eaten cooked or raw.

The flowers of aromatic plants

Most aromatic plants produce edible flowers; generally they are not used much, above all because many of them are slightly less aromatic than the leaves of the plants that carry them. So lavender flowers, mint, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, sage, are not widely used in the kitchen, although, to a delicate scent, they also add a beautiful, very decorative color. Above all, typically, when these plants, as well as basil, begin to produce flowers, they are usually pruned to prevent them from producing seeds and tending to deteriorate; so if we have an aromatic plant on the terrace or in the garden, we have great availability of such flowers, which we tend to throw away. Instead we could use them, dried, together with the leaves, or we could also use them fresh, exploiting the delicate colors.

Decorative flowers

Some flowers are edible, but do not have a particularly intense taste; for this reason they are used more to decorate dishes than for their taste or fragrance. For example apple blossoms or daisies, or even cornflower: their taste is delicate, and they are often added to salads or soups, simply to enjoy their colors. Even the chrysanthemums are edible, but the use in the kitchen is not widespread in our country, even if they could be made of pancakes in batter, as is done with elderflower. The gladioli are edible, and also the sunflowers; if harvested as soon as they have bloomed, they can be steamed, and eaten as if they were a vegetable, the taste is not very intense, but pleasant. Even the dandelion flowers are edible, and have a taste similar to that of the leaves, although they are very fleshy and pleasing to the palate. Calendula and borage are often used in soups, because they tend to lightly color the dish in which they are cooked; they have a slightly spicy but delicate taste.

Flowers for tea

Tea is a drink made with Chinese camellia leaves; to flavor tea you can add flowers, the most famous is jasmine, which has a strong, very intense aroma; bergamot tea called earl gray is also very well known, bergamot flowers have a light orange scent, which goes well with the taste of tea. An aroma similar to that of bergamot is given by monarda flowers, which are similarly added to tea leaves. Tea and herbal teas however are prepared with various other flowers, among which the most famous is certainly the chamomile, a relaxing herbal tea widely used in Italy. Also karkadи is a flower tea, prepared with evergreen hibiscus flowers: in addition to the sour taste, the hibiscus flowers give the drink an incredible bright red color.

Roses on the plate

Even the roses, as well as to decorate the dishes, are used in the kitchen; the most typical dish is certainly sweet, and it is the rose jam, prepared with the petals of wrinkled or canine roses. In addition to jam, very aromatic liqueurs, rosoli and syrups are prepared. But the rose petals are also candied, or used, fresh in salads. They are also used in sauces, associated with lemon, or even in a rather particular risotto. Like roses, violets are also widely used in cooking, especially in desserts, such as candies, candies, jams, but also in salads and fruit salads. Choosing the spring pans in the fields, you also get a very aromatic dish; if instead we choose pansies, rather than taste, we will have a very decorative flower.

The poisonous flowers

In addition to edible flowers, there are toxic or strongly poisonous flowers in nature, from which it is good to stay away; the most widespread and common are the colchic flowers: these are crocus-like flowers, but often pink in color, which generally bloom in autumn, before the plant produces leaves. In every part of the plant, bulb, leaves and flowers, is contained an alkaloid, called colchicine, which is used, in minimal doses, in medicine; this alkaloid is very toxic, and the ingestion of small amounts can lead to death.
Even the anthuriums are poisonous, in the flowers and in the large bracts are contained substances that can cause strong rashes and swelling of the mucous membranes.
Oleanders and hydrangeas, present in most of our gardens, are toxic plants; like leaves and stems, even the flowers of these plants contain substances that are harmful to health, and therefore, despite being colorful, decorative, and easy to find, we avoid adding them to the salad.
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