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Four Ways to Add Visual Flair to Meals

Edible flowers for cupcakes

There’s an old saying that says people eat first with their eyes. This saying continues to be supported through technology platforms like “I Ate This”–one of the biggest and most active groups on Flickr in which over 19,000 members contribute photos of food that is visually intriguing. Whether you are an at-home chef trying to make foods to appeal to your friends and family or a professional chef in the restaurant environment, ways to make food not only taste great but look amazing as well receive positive feedback from diners. Here are some tips for versatile ways to make dishes beautiful.

#1. Use Edible Flower Petals

A great way to add a touch of elegance and whimsy to dishes from salads to soups and desserts is by using edible flower petals. There are about 100 different varieties of edible flower petals found commonly in garden flowers that are both safe to eat and pleasant to taste. Some popular varieties of edible flowers include the black locust flower, the Japanese Honeysuckle and the Geranium. Look for petals that give a pleasant fragrance that corresponds to the dish you are making. For example, lavender petals are often paired with citrus, honey or vanilla flavors while more bitter tasting petals such as Marigolds complement dishes with curry and hearty soups.

#2. Try Smaller Portions

To make appetizing plates, go smaller rather than larger with portion sizes. Presenting a smaller amount of food gives the eye more space on the plate to offset the food and it becomes more of a tease that people are eager to dig into. Remember, it is always an option to go back for seconds. Smaller amounts of food also cater to guests who like to make healthy eating choices. People are less likely to feel guilty or gluttonous if they are presented with a smaller portion of food, and are more able to enjoy what they are eating and focus on flavor instead of quantity.

#3. Incorporate Vibrant Greens

Adding vibrant greens such as microgreens to dishes gives a pop of color and freshness that is pleasing to diners. Whether you serve a dish with a side of greens, a salad or a garnish of greens on top, the fresh taste and texture is a welcome component to many dishes and helps cleanse the palate. One tip for keeping greens looking extra fresh is to douse them in ice water for about 15 seconds before serving. This allows the greens to keep their vibrancy instead of fading while you’re waiting to serve.

#4. Shoot for a Variety of Colors

Studies show that people of all ages prefer a variety of food colors and components on their plates. Adults tend to prefer three colors and three components on their plates while children reportedly prefer six different colors and seven components on their dishes. Fruits and vegetables are great standby items for adding color to dishes and breaking up the monotony.

For any additional tips on great ways to present appealing food, please leave a comment.

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