Friday, May 30, 2014

How to make candied/crystalized violets



One of my favorite things about May is the surplus of sweet violets that covers my back yard. While I do love just seeing them, I also like to use them in culinary senses.  One way I make use of them is in candied or crystalized violets. This can be quite a long process, but makes beautiful decorations for cakes etc.
First, you want to pluck some sweet violets as close to the head as possible. DO NOT use African violets or any flower that had been sprayed with pesticides. When I doubt, do not use them and instead buy the edible flowers you can often find near the salad greens in large grocery stores like wegmans, trader joe’s etc.  Then, wash your flowers well and place on some paper towel stem side down until dry, about an hour.
When they are dry, take the white from one egg and whip with a fork for a minute or until foamy (or there is a layer of foam on top). Then, take a plate or try and cover with a layer of sugar (I used a dinner plate and about ¼ cup sugar). This needs to be pretty finely ground sugar, I find using brand name sugar like domino’s works well, or you can buy caster sugar in the baking isle. Then, spread the foamy egg white onto the flower petals, both front and back. I just use my finder for this. Then, place them face down into the sugar and spread some more sugar on top. In total I used about a half cup of sugar.
Once all of your flowers are covered (I did about 50) place them on your counter for about 24 hours or until completely dry; they will be fragile and “crispy”. Depending on how much moisture is in the air where you dry them they can get stuck to the sugar. I use a fork and carefully break up the sugar under each flower. Store these in a dry, sealed container until you would like to use them.
Try this recipe with other edible flowers like pansies or rose petals! I hope you enjoyed this recipe!


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