Hundreds of tiny inconspicuous wild strawberries and violets can be found at the edge of our apple orchard next to the surrounding woodlands. Their tiny blossoms are edible and make wonderful decorative Candied Flowers…Perfect For A Special Occasion. While not as showy or flamboyant as the apple and pear blossoms are during spring, these tiny flowers are what you might call the quiet side to spring. They can be totally overlooked unless you walk slowly and look down as they will be hiding within the grass and clover.
Candied violets have decorated little tea cakes in England since Victorian times. I think that they are perfect for decorating a dessert or garnishing a plate as they add a bit of elegance and romance to what you are serving. I have a special occasion coming up at the end of the month and decided to crystallize some of these tiny wildflowers. I’m looking forward to showing you how I will be using them but you will have to wait until my next post for that.
You only need a couple of items for this fun project. Once you have gathered everything together, all you need is a little time, and an out of the way spot for them to dry.
To candy flowers, you will need a tray lined with parchment paper, nonstick foil or a Silpat and a clean watercolor brush that you only use for food. A pair of tweezers might be helpful if you are working with very small blossoms.
- edible flowers *, that have been rinsed of dust and blotted dry
- superfine sugar, caster sugar or regular sugar processed for about a minute until fine
- 1 egg white mixed with a little water. ** If you are worried about using raw egg, you can use powdered meringue or powdered egg whites reconstituted according to the package directions, which is what I did. Mix until there are no lumps…you can pour the whites through a strainer to remove any remaining lumps.
Pour a little of the fine sugar onto a small flat plate. Using the paint brush dipped in egg whites, paint each side of the blossom. Place bottom side down into the sugar, using the tip end of the brush, if necessary, to straighten out the petals. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Grab by the stem and place on the tray to dry. Depending on how humid it is, it could take anywhere from several hours to a day or more for the flowers to dry to a brittle stage. Once the flowers are stiff and completely dry, store in an airtight container.
This is such an easy and fun project…I think you would enjoy giving it a try. I hope you will come back for my next post. I know you will enjoy what I have planned for the candied flowers…they are going to be perfect for my special occasion celebration.
*Of course you don’t have to search your yard for edible wildflowers, you can use edible flowers from your garden or buy edible flowers from your local market. One thing to remember is to only use flowers that you know have never been sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals and that have been identified as not being poisonous. Do not use flowers that grow along roadways, or ones that you might buy from florists and nurseries. If purchasing flowers to eat, they must be marked and certified as “chemical free and food safe.
Note: You should never, ever eat any part of a plant without positive identification as some edible plants look very similar to poisonous varieties. Also make sure that they have not been sprayed with any pesticides or chemicals. If in doubt, don’t use them.