Saturday, July 6, 2013

Candied or Crystallized Flowers

Candied or Crystallized Flowers
 When growing flowers in my garden I always love spending time with them, and I am always looking for ways to extend their beauty, so when I found out you could candy them and use them on cakes, in foods and drinks(ice cubes) and things I was even happier to have my flowers and herbs.

Rinsed and dried edible flower blossoms, separated from the stem (suggestions: apple or plum blossoms, borage flowers, lilac florets, rose petals, scented geraniums, and the violas - violets, Johnny-jump-ups, and pansy petals)
1 extra-large egg white, at room temperature
Few drops of water
About 1 cup superfine sugar
A small paint brush
A baking rack covered with waxed paper

Good candidates for candying are apple or plum blossoms, borage flowers, lilac florets, rose petals, scented geraniums, and the violas - violets, Johnny-jump-ups, and pansy petals.

This job takes a little patience; it seems to go more quickly if you do it with a friend. The following recipe will coat quite a few flowers, but if you need more, mix up a second batch.

In a small bowl, combine the egg white with the water and beat lightly with a fork or small whisk until the white just shows a few bubbles. Place the sugar in a shallow dish.

Holding a flower or petal in one hand, dip a paint brush into the egg white with the other and gently paint the flower. Cover the flower or petal completely but not excessively. Holding the flower or petal over the sugar dish, gently sprinkle sugar evenly all over on both sides. Place the flower or petal on the waxed paper to dry. Continue with the rest of the flowers.

Let the flowers dry completely; they should be free of moisture. This could take 12 to 36 hours, depending on atmospheric humidity. To hasten drying, you may place the candied flowers in an oven with a pilot light overnight, or in an oven set at 150 degrees to 200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours.

Store the dried, candied flowers in airtight containers until ready to use. They will keep for as long as a year.

Recipe from: Texas A&M Horticulture

Crystallized Roses by Meadowsweets
Edible candied flowers can be used as toppers for cakes, pies, sorbet, ice cream, truffles, and cupcakes.
Bag them up and give as sweet wedding guest gifts.
Add them atop beverages.
Decor for many dishes such as fruit salad or around a holiday wedding table.
They’re an inexpensive decor item and edible treat.
They don’t create waste – they vanish into bellies and if not eaten of course they completely biodegrade.
They taste fabulous.
Excellent flowers to crystallize for green weddings: Lilacs, violets, rose petals, cowslip, angelica, rosemary, sage, pinks, borage, primroses, and lavender. Leaves such as lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint, and bergmot can also be coated with sugar. Really, any edible plant can be crystallized. Just make sure you research which flowers and leaves are safe to eat before using them to make candied flowers.

Health matters: Flowers used for candied flowers need to be home grown or purchased from a reliable organic flower source. Flowers laced with sugar are cool – flowers laced with pesticides don’t belong at your green wedding.

How to make candied flowers and candied leaves:
Pansies are especially pretty in the springtime and eatable

Pick flowers on a sunny dry day – you don’t want wet petals.
Remove all stalks and white bases from petals, also remove any sharp edges, thorns, and petals that look icky. Once you coat a flower with sugar it’ll make any problems stand out.
Lightly beat an egg white until just foamy.
Dip each flower into the egg white to coat. Make sure to use plastic tweezers if holding by the petals (metal will bruise petals).
Dip into organic caster sugar.
Place on wax paper atop a wire cooling rack.
Place in your extremely low heated oven with the door slightly open. You can also dry flowers in a well enclosed solar oven or a hot greenhouse but note, small flowers are delicate and will blow away.
Once your flowers are nicely dry in the oven (not sticky or dusty to the touch) they’re done.
Candied flower storage and handling:

If you store your candied flowers in a moisture-free, air-tight containers, at room temperature (no direct sunlight) they should last a good long while. If you’re making these for a wedding, I’d make them no more than a month in advance.
Place your candied flowers your cake or other food item about 24-48 hours prior to the event; note – you can store these in the fridge or freezer once on a cake but store your cake uncovered. Placing a cover over may create too much moisture for the flowers.
To attach flowers to a wedding cake use a tiny drop of icing and be careful, as your flowers are delicate.

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