20 Feb Beautiful and colorful, edible flowers also contain substances useful for our health.
The use of flowers in cooking is an ancient practice dating back to the time of the Egyptians, Romans, and medieval courtiers. However, not only did the upper classes use flowers in cooking, but traditional popular cuisine also used flowers such as pumpkin flowers in many tasty ways such as fried, stuffed, or battered. In addition to these common flowers, there are many other flowers that we often eat without realizing it, such as artichokes, cauliflower, or saffron.
In recent years, flowers have been rediscovered in the kitchen thanks to the desire to combine innovation and tradition and create inviting and healthy dishes. This has led to the availability of edible flowers in supermarkets and for sale online. However, since they have become a common and accessible food for everyone, scientific research has become important to understand their nutritional importance, potential benefits, and toxicological risks.
A recent study conducted by the University of Genoa and published in the journal Molecules has identified edible flowers as a source of essential elements for health, free from risks to the consumer. The research was conducted as part of the transborder European project Italy-France called “ANTEA”. Dr. Giuliana Drava, a researcher at the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Genoa, explained that thanks to the project, various aspects related to the safety of flowers, such as the mineral component, potential microbiological contamination, the presence of beneficial organic compounds such as polyphenols, and potential cytotoxic activities, were evaluated. In the 40 species cultivated in Liguria and southern France tested in the study, no critical issues were found that could pose a risk to consumers.
In summary, edible flowers have become popular in the kitchen thanks to the desire to combine innovation and tradition and create healthy dishes. Scientific research has shown that edible flowers are a good source of essential elements for health and do not pose risks to consumers.