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  Preserving Picked Organic Flowers to Eat  

NEW! Pharmacopeia of Flowers: Foods, Drinks, Health & Beauty

Preserving Freshly Picked Flowers

To preserve flowers, put them on moist paper and place together in a hermetically-sealed container or in plastic wrapping. This way, certain species can be preserved in the refrigerator for some 10 days. If the flowers are limp, they can be revitalized by floating them on icy water for a few moments; don't leave too long or else they will lose some of their flavor. You can also store the whole flower in a glass of water in the refrigerator overnight.

Crystallized Roses
Preserve
|priˈzərv| verb [trans.]
maintain (something) in its original or existing state : all records of the past were zealously preserved | [as adj.] (preserved) a magnificently preserved monastery.
• retain (a condition or state of affairs) : conservatives fight to preserve the Constitutional Republic.
• maintain or keep alive (a memory or quality) : the film has preserved all the qualities of the novel.
• keep safe from harm or injury : a place for preserving endangered species.
treat or refrigerate (food) to prevent its decomposition or fermentation.
prepare (fruit) for long-term storage by boiling it with sugar : [as adj.] (preserved) those sweet preserved fruits associated with Cremona.
• keep (game or an area where game is found) undisturbed to allow private hunting or shooting.

Preserve (noun)
1. (usu. preserves) food made with fruit preserved in sugar, such as jam or marmalade : home-made preserves.
2. a sphere of activity regarded as being reserved for a particular person or group : the civil service became the preserve of the educated middle class.
3. a place where game is protected and kept for private hunting or shooting.

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [keep safe from harm]): from Old French preserver, from late Latin praeservare, from prae- ‘before, in advance’ + servare ‘to keep.’

 

Parts of the Flower To Eat:

Following information from the book, Edible Flowers - From Garden To Palate, by Cathy Wilkinson Barash:

crystallized flower blossomRemove the stamens and styles from the flowers before eating. The pollen can detract from the flavor of the flower. In addition, the pollen may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Remove the sepals of all flowers except violas, Johnny-jump-ups, and pansies.

Only the petals of some flowers such as rose, calendula, tulip, chrysanthemum, yucca, and lavender are edible. When using just the petals, separate them from the rest of the flower just prior to use to keep wilting to a minimum. Others, including Johnny-jump-up, violet, runner bean, honeysuckle, and clover can be eaten in their entirety.

Roses, dianthus, English daisies, marigolds and chrysanthemums have a bitter white portion at the base of the petal where it was attached to the flower. Bread or cut off the bitter part off the petal before using.

 

crystallized flower
Cleaning Edible Flowers:

Shake each flower to dislodge insects hidden in the petal folds. After having removed the stamen, wash the flowers under a fine jet of water or in a strainer placed in a large bowl of water. Drain and allow to dry on absorbent paper. The flowers will retain their odor and color providing they dry quickly and that they are not exposed to direct sunlight.

 

Lavender Iced Lemonade
Making Blossom Ice Cubes:

  1. Gently rinse your pesticide-free flower blossoms.
  2. Boil water for 2 minutes for all the air trapped in the water to escape. Remove from heat and let the water cool until room temperature. NOTE: This will ensure that the ice cubes are crystal clear.
  3. Place each blossom at the base of each individual compartment within an ice tray.
  4. Fill each compartment half full with the cooled boiled water and freeze.
  5. After the water is frozen solid, fill each ice cube compartment the rest of the way to the top with the remaining boiled water.
  6. Freeze until ready to use.

 

Blossom Ice Cubes Tips

  • Getting ice trays in certain shapes will also help.
  • If you are using ice cubes in wine, make them with the wine you will be drinking. This will prevent dilution of the wine as the ice cube melts. Freeze with a strawberry, a raspberry or a mandarin slice for a delightful, uplifting taste.
  • Blossoms, flowers and leaves that are suitable include: nasturtiums, violets, rose petals, pansies, lavender, basil, chive/leek/onion/garlic blossoms, borage flowers, most flowers from edible herbs (e.g. basil, oregano, thyme).
  • You can also freeze a whole punch bowl shape with a variety of blossoms. Don't use the glass punchbowl or it will expand and burst in the freezer. Instead, pull out a ring-shaped cake tin and fill it with flowers and water. Follow the same procedure as above (filling halfway, then freezing), but you can add additional blossoms to the second layer so that the blossoms are throughout the large ice cube.
  • If fresh flowers are unavailable, a silk flower ring (one used for pillar candles) also makes a beautiful addition to a wedding or shower punch. Just make sure that you carefully wash the flower ring and place it in a ring-shaped cake pan as above. It can be used over and over.
  • Always have some ice cubes without blossoms in them for guests who might be squeamish for one reason or another.

 

Crystallized Flowers & Candied Flowers

candied flowers

Candied Blossoms & Flower Perfumed Syrup

Candied Violets

You can use this recipe to candy other edible flowers, such as roses, pansies, carnations, nasturtium, honeysuckle, jasmine, lilac, marigolds, clover, and orange blossom. The results are equally pretty and very rewarding. Store-bought candied flowers are intended for long storage, so they have added colorants and aromas. The beauty of the homemade variety, on the other hand, is the purity of the natural flavor.

To begin, you will need a small paintbrush (designated for food use only), an egg white, some superfine or caster sugar, and your desired amount of violet flowers, with the stems attached. If you don’t have superfine sugar, simply pulse regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about a minute. The result should be sugar with a slightly finer grain which will stick to the violets better than regular granulated sugar.

candied violets

Since the flowers are so delicate, they cannot stand any more than a gentle wash before being used.

  1. Beat the egg white in a small bowl until frothy, about a minute. Then, grasping by the stem, paint the front and back of all the petals with a thin layer of the beaten egg white.
  2. Place the violet flower on the sugar, and use a spoon to scoop the sugar all over the front and back of the violet petals. Once the flower is coated with the sugar, place it gently onto a sheet of wax paper to dry overnight.
  3. Once the flowers seem stiff and completely dry, snip off the stems, and store the violets in a sealed airtight container. They should keep for a while in a cool, dry place, but I would recommend using them as soon as possible.

If you happen to have a windfall of violets though, making violet syrup is a real treat. The thick, sweet syrup is stained the most gorgeous shade of purple imaginable. I find commercial soft drinks too sweet for my taste, but a drizzle of this syrup into a glass of sparkling water is extremely refreshing. It is also great to add as a sweetener to green teas (iced especially), as it accentuates the natural violet-like facets of the tea. My favorite way to use it though, is to drizzle the syrup on top of a panna cotta, where it adds a beautiful, light fruity floral flavor, similar to the taste of the crystallized violets. Use your imagination - the possible uses for this syrup are endless!

sugar candied violets

Violet Syrup

Makes about 2 cups

As with the candied violet recipe, you can follow the instructions to make other floral syrups with fragrant flowers of your choice. This recipe can easily be scaled up or down.

  • 50 g (approximately 1.8 ounces) violet flowers
  • 250 mL (1 cup) water
  • 500 g (1lb, 2 ½ cups) granulated sugar

Grasping the green part where the stem meets the flower, pull the petals off each violet and set the petals aside in a bowl, discarding the rest of the flower stem. Next, boil the water and pour over the violet petals, stirring for a minute to combine. Cover bowl, and let sit for twenty-four hours to ensure maximum flavor.

The next day, uncover the bowl and drain the liquid from the violet petals through a mesh strainer. Press and squeeze the petals out to extract all of the liquid. Begin warming the liquid over a double boiler (a heatproof mixing bowl sitting atop a saucepan filled with boiling water), adding all of the sugar and stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, remove syrup from heat, allow to cool, and store in the refrigerator.

sugared violets
Where to Find Fresh Violets

The hardest part about cooking with violets is often finding the violets themselves. The best violets to use are Viola odorata, a species otherwise known as the sweet violet. They are native to Europe and Asia but may also be found in parts of North America. This variety is also sometimes cultivated and can be found at gourmet and specialty stores. So, to be safe, make sure you use violets (or any other edible flowers) that have not been treated with any herbicides or pesticides. If you have a garden, violets (perfumed Viola odorata variety included) are easy to grow.

candied violets drying
Where to Find Candied Flowers

If you can’t find edible flowers to candy yourself, look for the ready-made kind at gourmet stores, spice shops, and pastry stores. Amazon.com, Dean & Deluca, Kalustyan’s, markethallfoods.com, and other specialty stores offer a variety of candied blossoms, including rose, mimosa, and lilac.

 

 

Dandelion Blossom Marmalade SyrupDandelion Blossom Syrup

This is a traditional recipe passed down from the old world Europeans.
Use it as a substitute for honey in any recipe that I'm trying to make wild.

  • 1 quart dandelion flowers
  • 1 quart (4 cups) water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ½ lemon or orange (organic) chopped, peel and all

Note: The citrus is optional, it will give the syrup an orangey or lemony flavor.
If you want the pure dandelion flavor, you can skip the citrus.

 

  1. Put blossoms and water in a pot.
  2. Bring just to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let sit overnight.
  3. The next day, strain and press liquid out of spent flowers.
  4. Add sugar and sliced citrus and heat slowly, stirring now and again,
    for several hours or until reduced to a thick, honey-like syrup.
  5. Can in half-pint or 1 pint jars.

This recipe makes a little more than 1 pint. You can triple or quadruple this, and make more than one batch when the blossoms are in season to have enough for the year. The syrup makes great Christmas presents, so make plenty!

 

 

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