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Types of Garnishes

Updated April 17, 2017

Garnish has been used in culinary circles since the late 17th century to embellish food offerings. Garnish is intended to add excitement to a dish, and entice the diner by pleasing the eye. Garnish options range from the simple herb to elaborate food carvings and gelatin moulds. Impress your friends with eye-catching garnish creations.

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Restaurants often use herbs to garnish their culinary creations. While traditionally a sprig of parsley used as an accent garnish, herbs such as rosemary or mint make fine replacements for it. Use crushed herbs for a sprinkle-garnish on the plate or to add flavour to your entrée.


Vegetables integrate bold colour into less colourful dishes. Simply cut vegetables into complementary shapes or join them together in creative edible combinations. For example, use a swirled cucumber peel alone or insert green beans or herbs into a carrot ring. The colour and texture combinations make vegetables a dazzling garnish choice.


Like vegetables, fruits offer a combination of colours and textures for garnishing. Like herbs, citrus peels may be sprinkled onto plates to add interest to the empty portions of the dish. Moving away from the traditional citrus wedge, try creating a butterfly or fan from citrus. Skewer fruit pieces for a simple garnish using fruit.

Drink Garnishes

From a simple lemon wedge in a glass of water to exotic drinks with a skewered selection of tropical fruit, drink garnishes add something special to an otherwise boring drinking glass. While many reserve garnish for cocktails, there is no reason not to garnish your water, juice or even soda with citrus slices, cherries or other fruits.

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About the Author

Based in Cape Coral, Fla., Jennifer Groepl began writing career-related articles in 2010. She also runs her own medical transcription service. Certified in secondary education, Groepl holds a Bachelor of Science in social sciences from Florida State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from New Mexico State University.

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