contributed by Jennifer Dawson

Edible stir sticks for cocktails and mocktails are the hottest trend in garnishes, according to the Food Network. With the right ingredients and small kitchen appliances, it’s possible to create superb garnishes that are enjoyable and wholesome. These tips will help home chefs of all skill levels to master impressive garnishes that are nutrient-rich and very easy on the eyes. When home gourmets try out these exciting new garnish ideas, they’ll expand their culinary horizons.

Dazzle guests with edible stir sticks

To get started with trendy and healthy garnishes, whip up a batch of edible stir sticks. Then, add them to drinks that you serve at a dinner party or a family BBQ. All that you’ll need is sprigs of fresh herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, and a bunch of berries. The berries should be firm enough to be speared by the sprigs without losing their shape.

Berries that work well for this type of garnish include raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Clean and dry the herbs and berries. Then, thread three juicy berries onto each sprig. Lay the garnishes gently over the tops of filled, short cocktail glasses, or put them into filled highball glasses.

Add broccoli with lemon and Parmesan to entrees

According to Livestrong, freeze-dried vegetables, such as broccoli sprouts, are very versatile, in addition to being packed with antioxidants and other vital nutrients, so you may want to invest in your own freeze dryer/food dehydrator. When you do, you’ll have plenty of healthy veggies on hand to make broccoli with lemon and Parmesan. You may use fresh broccoli for this recipe, too. It's up to you.

Broccoli florets are classic garnishes that get a whole new spin when they are sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and a touch of grated, fresh Parmesan. When you add these two seasonings, you’ll elevate the basic broccoli floret. This garnish will pair well with chops, potatoes, and peppers and will be versatile enough to work with many different entrees.

Infused ice cubes are a fun summer garnish

One great garnish idea for the warm-weather months is infused ice cubes. They contain freeze-dried berries and fruit juice. Some people add a little bit of their favorite spirits, too, but that’s strictly optional. Cooling drinks with these flavorful ice cubes is a great way to enhance the taste of beverages, plus, they're so easy to make.

To begin, you’ll need a cup of fruit (fresh or freeze-dried), plus a blender or sharp knife and an ice cube tray. You may decide whether to puree the fruit or chop or dice it. If you wish to puree it, do so on the highest speed that your blender offers. After you’ve chopped, diced or pureed the fresh fruit, add it to an ice cube tray. Fill each cube of the ice cube tray halfway. Then, add water (or spirits, such as vodka) to fill up each cube of the ice cube tray. Once your ice cubes are frozen, add them to tall drinks of water, lemonade or iced tea. Flavors from the infused ice cubes will be released as the cubes melt.

Try these garnishes today

Garnishes are perfect for food but they’re amazing in drinks, too. Hopefully, this guide will give home chefs the inspiration that they need to create the very latest (and greatest) healthy garnishes. Make one, two or all of them in order to access wholesome taste that is beyond compare.