When I came across some tiny jam jars at a local tea room being discarded every time somebody had a scone, I couldn't bare to watch them being put in the bin. So with a nifty bit of freecycling, I popped them in my bag to use for some kind of edible present. I considered jam, but that would be a bit stingy due to their tininess so I had to come up with some kind of artisanal sweet. I've always wanted to crystallise petals and thought what dainty delicacy this would be to recieve as a gift.
We're all familiar with rose petal decorations but here are some other flowers you could use at this time of year:
- Honeysuckle - If I were a bee <queue Beyonce wailing>, I'd hang out by the honeysuckle bush all day long. These are filled with nectar and my favourite floral treat.
- Chamomile - the petals are so small they get lost when candying and the central floret ends up looking like a pretty yellow alpine strawberry. You might still be able to find some late bloomers. I always get a slightly euphoric feeling when eating these, possibly because they taste so good but maybe because chamomile's medicinal benefits really work.
- Nasturtiums - Peppery and fierce orange, these will give your candy bouquet a fiery hit.
- Sweet violets - I've played with sweet violets before on here. They are a spring flower but you might be able to catch some viola tricolor at the moment. Violets are probably the most beautiful flower to put on top of a cake and it's a romantic notion but give me a violet flavoured macaroon and my heart really could be yours eternally.
All you need is an egg white and a plate of caster sugar. Method:
- Mix the egg white with a tiny splash of water (roughly 1 - 2 teaspoons)
- With a soft paintbrush or basting brush, paint over a thin layer of egg white onto the petals, making sure you cover every nook and cranny.
- Dip and sprinkle your flower with the caster sugar
- Leave to dry on a baking tray for 1 - 2 hours
- Reapply the egg white and sprinkle over more sugar
- Check for any uncovered areas and reapply where necessary
- Leave to dry for 2 days.
And I know it goes without saying but please always be cautious when foraging and use a decent guide to help you pick only the best blooms.