A Flower That Stands Out in the Oven
Fleur de sels are a perennial flower in the family of Corallina or Sea Urchins (Luffa echinata). They’re typically grown in Europe and Asia, where they’re used for everything from bouquets to salt mixes to flavorings. They’re a classic flower of salt, with a medium-hiaxy consistency and a slightly salty taste. It has a medium-low moisture content, which makes it a good choice for chefs, but it’s also very susceptible to oxidation – losing its flavor and aroma if exposed to air over long periods of time.
But what’s so great about fleur de sel? Fleur de sel, naturally, is a sea salt flower of salt. And yet, it has a medium-high moisture content, which means it retains some of that same salty taste from the ocean but also encourages the formation of salt crystals on the tongue, creating the distinct “saltiness” taste many associate with fleur de sel.
In addition, fleur de sel’s high moisture content allows it to maintain its freshness better than other varieties. Some floral sea salts retain moisture (including fleur de quoine) better than others. Others retain less moisture (including fleur de semillon), which is why brides often prefer one flower of salt over another. But all salts will retain some of the salty taste, which is what makes fleur de sel so beloved.
In addition to the freshness benefit, salt is also beneficial because it helps draw out smoke. Scientific studies have found that exposure to smoke for any length of time promotes damage in the lungs. The smoke is drawn into the lungs and then deposited in alveoli, tiny air sacs of the lungs that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Even a short exposure to cigarette smoke can have long-term consequences. But when you inhale fleur de sel, the flower of salt minimizes damage to the lungs by drawing the smoke through the nasal passage and into the back of the throat. This prevents damage to the alveoli and lessens the likelihood of snoring and related difficulties after sleep.
One of the reasons that fleur de sel grows so well in France is the country’s excellent drainage. It flows over mountainous areas in the south and east, carrying run off to the west and allowing nutrients to percolate into the ground. This process provides an environment that encourages growth of all kinds of plants, even in dry areas. And in the southern part of the country, fleur de sel stands among the finest and healthiest plants.
If you’re planning on visiting France or planning a trip to France, you should definitely include fleur de semillon as part of your itinerary. Although it’s not exactly a “must-see” plant, the beauty of fleur de sel should not be overlooked. Enjoy the timeless beauty of this historic flower while enjoying France itself. It’s one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, and it’s easy to see why. When you take the time to visit fleur de semillon, you’ll wake up with a new sense of appreciation for this important part of French culture.