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Fava flowers are small in size, averaging 2-5 centimeters in length, and consist of a larger, lighter-colored, oval petal next to two smaller, darker-colored, oblong petals connected at the base with a pale green to white, crunchy stem. The petals range in color from fuchsia, maroon, to dark crimson and are soft and velvety. Fava flowers also have a mild, floral fragrance with a crisp consistency, evoking mild flavors of fava beans and snap peas.
Fava flowers are available in the fall through early summer.
Fava flowers are small, edible blooms that are a part of a line of specialty flowers grown by Fresh Origins Farm, the leading national producer of both common and unique microgreens and edible flowers, located in San Diego, California. Harvested at an early stage, Fava flowers are favored by chefs as a garnish to add unusual fragrances, textures, colors, and flavors to both sweet and savory dishes. Since the late 1990s, flowers have increased in popularity as a modern and elevated garnish allowing chefs to express their artistic side by using the flowers to tell a visual and emotional story through food. Flowers from Fresh Origins also provide chefs with the opportunity to use ingredients for an extended season that are typically only available for a short time in the wild.
Fava flowers contain some potassium and vitamin C, which can help repair tissues in the body, assist with absorption of other vitamins and minerals, and protect the body from sicknesses such as colds and flu.
Fava flowers are best suited for raw applications as the delicate nature of the petals cannot withstand high heat preparations. The blooms are most commonly used whole or are separated into petals and are used as a finishing garnish at the end of preparations. Fava flowers can be tossed into green salads and add a fresh fava bean flavor. It is important to note that some vinegar may change the color of the flower so tests should be done with the flowers and dressings before they are served. Fava flowers can also be layered into sandwiches, garnished over cooked meats, frozen into ice cubes, stirred into drinks, sprinkled over smoothie or grain bowls, displayed over stir-fries, or mixed into light pasta dishes. Fava flowers pair well with walnuts, oranges, grapefruit, rosemary, thyme, mint, chives, peas, asparagus, feta, and meats such as poultry or fish. The flowers will keep 2-5 days when stored unwashed, in a sealed container, and in the refrigerator.
Flowers have been used since ancient times to add vivid colors, unique shapes, and mild fragrances to dishes, but today they are also used to intensify textural elements and stimulate the appetite through sound. In the early 2000s in the United States, many restaurants studied how consumers enjoyed dining experiences and discovered that texture and the sound of food is just as important as the visual nature of the dish. When consumers internally hear the crisp or crunchiness of the food they are eating, that sensation is signaling to the brain what kind of experience they are having. Chefs are altering the way we hear food by adding unusual ingredients to dishes that may not sound what they look like. Fava flowers appear delicate in nature, but the petals add a bright, crisp texture to dishes surprising consumers and elevating the dining experience.
Fava flowers were created by Fresh Origins Farm in San Diego, California in the early 2000s as a part of the growing edible flower trend. Today Fava flowers can be found at select distributors of Fresh Origins, such as Specialty Produce, and are available across the United States.