Orchids are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation. The flowers also provide antioxidants to protect the cells against free radical damage from external environmental aggressors potassium to balance fluid levels within the body iron to develop the protein hemoglobin for oxygen transport through the bloodstream, and calcium to maintain teeth and bone health. Beyond vitamins and minerals, Orchids have been incorporated into natural medicines worldwide. In China, the flowers are traditionally dried and steeped into a medicinal tea, believed to help fight against disease, soothe headaches, and maintain overall health. The blooms were also used in Turkey to create a powder that is mixed into drinks to ease gum pain and an inflamed digestive tract.
Orchids have a neutral, very subtle flavor, allowing the flowers to be added to an array of fresh and cooked culinary preparations. The most straightforward use of Orchids involves placing whole flowers on cakes, pastries, cheese boards, or alongside savory main dishes. The flowers can also be candied and dusted as a sweet decoration on desserts, dipped into chocolate, scattered into salads, mixed into stir-fries, incorporated into sorbet, or garnished over seafood dishes, depending on the size of the bloom. Beyond using the flowers, whole, orchids can be pulled apart, and the petals can be dried and boiled for tea, simmered into sauces, infused into marinades, or cooked into jams. In Southeast Asia, some Orchid varieties are battered and fried as a crunchy, succulent snack or floated over soups and curries. Orchids are also used to make the famous sleep powder in Turkey, comprised of orchids and dried tubers. The powder is mixed with warm spices to create frothy beverages, or it is combined with sugar, milk, and mastic to make a chewy, sticky dessert known as donderma. Worldwide, orchids have become a favored garnish of mixologists as the flowers contribute color, texture, and enhanced visual appeal to cocktails, sparkling beverages, and fruit drinks.
Orchids are available year-round.